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1.  Functions of Paracrine PDGF Signaling in the Proangiogenic Tumor Stroma Revealed by Pharmacological Targeting  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(1):e19.
Important support functions, including promotion of tumor growth, angiogenesis, and invasion, have been attributed to the different cell types populating the tumor stroma, i.e., endothelial cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts, pericytes, and infiltrating inflammatory cells. Fibroblasts have long been recognized inside carcinomas and are increasingly implicated as functional participants. The stroma is prominent in cervical carcinoma, and distinguishable from nonmalignant tissue, suggestive of altered (tumor-promoting) functions. We postulated that pharmacological targeting of putative stromal support functions, in particular those of cancer-associated fibroblasts, could have therapeutic utility, and sought to assess the possibility in a pre-clinical setting.
Methods and Findings
We used a genetically engineered mouse model of cervical carcinogenesis to investigate platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor signaling in cancer-associated fibroblasts and pericytes. Pharmacological blockade of PDGF receptor signaling with the clinically approved kinase inhibitor imatinib slowed progression of premalignant cervical lesions in this model, and impaired the growth of preexisting invasive carcinomas. Inhibition of stromal PDGF receptors reduced proliferation and angiogenesis in cervical lesions through a mechanism involving suppression of expression of the angiogenic factor fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) and the epithelial cell growth factor FGF-7 by cancer-associated fibroblasts. Treatment with neutralizing antibodies to the PDGF receptors recapitulated these effects. A ligand trap for the FGFs impaired the angiogenic phenotype similarly to imatinib. Thus PDGF ligands expressed by cancerous epithelia evidently stimulate PDGFR-expressing stroma to up-regulate FGFs, promoting angiogenesis and epithelial proliferation, elements of a multicellular signaling network that elicits functional capabilities in the tumor microenvironment.
This study illustrates the therapeutic benefits in a mouse model of human cervical cancer of mechanism-based targeting of the stroma, in particular cancer-associated fibroblasts. Drugs aimed at stromal fibroblast signals and effector functions may prove complementary to conventional treatments targeting the overt cancer cells for a range of solid tumors, possibly including cervical carcinoma, the second most common lethal malignancy in women worldwide, for which management remains poor.
Douglas Hanahan and colleagues investigate a paracrine regulatory circuit centered upon PDGF receptor signaling in cancer-associated fibroblasts and pericytes of a mouse model of cervical carcinogenesis.
Editors' Summary
Cancers—disorganized, life-threatening masses of cells—develop when cells acquire genetic changes that allow them to divide uncontrollably and to move into (invade) other tissues. Interactions with ostensibly normal cells in the tissue surrounding the tumor (the stroma) support the growth of these abnormal cells. The stroma contains endothelial cells and pericytes (which line the inside and coat the outside, respectively, of blood vessels), cancer-associated fibroblasts, and some immune system cells. Together, these cells support angiogenesis (the formation of a blood supply, which feeds the tumor), produce factors that stimulate tumor cell growth, and facilitate tumor cell invasion into surrounding tissues. One type of tumor with a prominent stromal compartment is cervical cancer. Precancerous changes in the epithelial cells lining the cervix (the structure that connects the womb to the vagina) are usually triggered by infection with human papillomavirus. Some of these early lesions, which are known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (CINs), develop into invasive cervical cancer, which is treated by surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Why Was This Study Done?
The outlook for women whose cervical cancer is detected early is good but only 15%–30% of women whose cancer has spread out of the cervix survive for five years. If, as researchers believe, the stromal compartment is important in the development and growth (neoplastic progression) of cervical cancer, it might be possible to help these women by specifically targeting the cells in the stroma. However, relatively little is known about the role that the stroma plays in the neoplastic progression of cervical cancer or how it is regulated other than that a protein called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), which is made by the tumor cells, might be involved in its formation. In this study, the researchers have used a mouse model of cervical cancer (HPV/E2 mice) to investigate PDGF signaling in the tumor stroma. HPV/E2 mice develop CINs before they are three months old; by five months of age, 90% of them have invasive cervical cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers report that PDGF was expressed in the cervixes of normal and HPV/E2 mice, mainly by epithelial cells, and that PDGF receptors (cell-surface proteins that bind PDGF and send a message into the cell that alters the expression of other proteins) were expressed on cells within normal stroma and in fibroblasts and pericytes in the stroma surrounding CINs and tumors (but not on the cancer cells). The expression of PDGF and its receptors increased slightly during tumor progression. Treatment of the HPV/E2 mice with imatinib, an inhibitor of PDGF signaling, slowed the progression of precancerous lesions, impaired the growth of invasive cancers, and reduced the number of blood vessels formed in the tumors and the coverage of these vessels with pericytes. Other experiments indicate that imatinib had these effects because its inhibition of stromal PDGF receptors suppressed the expression of FGF-7 (a factor that encourages epithelial cell division) and FGF-2 (a proangiogenic factor) by cancer-associated fibroblasts. Finally, as in HPV/E2 mice, FGF-2 and PDGF receptors were expressed in the stroma of human cervical cancers whereas PDGF was expressed in the cancer cells.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that PDGF receptor signaling in the stromal cells associated with cervical tumors in mice has a functional role during tumor progression. More specifically, they suggest that PDGF released by the tumor cells triggers PDGF signaling in the stromal cells, which increases the expression of factors that both directly and indirectly stimulate the growth of the tumor cells. Confirmation of this scheme will require additional experiments in mouse models of cervical cancer and the careful examination of more human material. Importantly, although approaches that work in mice do not always work in people, the current findings suggest that targeted therapeutics that prevent the stromal support of tumor growth (such as inhibitors of PDGF receptor signaling) might provide a complementary approach to conventional treatments that target the cancer cells themselves.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information on all aspects of cancer, including information about cervical cancer (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Cancerbackup also provides information on all aspects of cancer, including information on cervical cancer and on imatinib
Wikipedia has pages on platelet-derived growth factor, on PDGF receptors, and on imatinib (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2214790  PMID: 18232728
2.  Cervical Screening at Age 50–64 Years and the Risk of Cervical Cancer at Age 65 Years and Older: Population-Based Case Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001585.
Peter Sasieni and colleagues use a population-based case control study to assess the risk of cervical cancer in screened women aged over 65 years to help inform policy on the upper age of cervical cancer screening.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
There is little consensus, and minimal evidence, regarding the age at which to stop cervical screening. We studied the association between screening at age 50–64 y and cervical cancer at age 65–83 y.
Methods and Findings
Cases were women (n = 1,341) diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 65–83 y between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2012 in England and Wales; age-matched controls (n = 2,646) were randomly selected from population registers. Screening details from 1988 onwards were extracted from national databases. We calculated the odds ratios (OR) for different screening histories and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 y (288 cases, 1,395 controls) were at lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-y risk: 8 cancers per 10,000 women) compared with those (532 cases, 429 controls) not screened at age 50–64 y (20-y risk: 49 cancers per 10,000 women, with OR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.13–0.19). ORs depended on the age mix of women because of the weakening association with time since last screen: OR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.08–0.14 at 2.5 to 7.5 y since last screen; OR = 0.27, 95% CI 0.20–0.36 at 12.5 to 17.5 y since last screen. Screening at least every 5.5 y between the ages 50 and 64 y was associated with a 75% lower risk of cervical cancer between the ages 65 and 79 y (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.21–0.30), and the attributable risk was such that in the absence of screening, cervical cancer rates in women aged 65+ would have been 2.4 (95% CI 2.1–2.7) times higher. In women aged 80–83 y the association was weaker (OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.83) than in those aged 65–69 y (OR = 0.12, 95% CI 0.09–0.17). This study was limited by an absence of data on confounding factors; additionally, findings based on cytology may not generalise to human papillomavirus testing.
Women with adequate negative screening at age 50–64 y had one-sixth of the risk of cervical cancer at age 65–83 y compared with women who were not screened. Stopping screening between ages 60 and 69 y in women with adequate negative screening seems sensible, but further screening may be justifiable as life expectancy increases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Nearly one in ten cancers diagnosed in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, more than a quarter of a million women (mostly in developing countries) die because of cervical cancer, which occurs only after the cervix has been infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. In the earliest stages of cervical cancer, abnormal cells begin to grow in the cervix. Cells with low-grade abnormalities (changes that often revert to normal), cells with high-grade abnormalities (which are more likely to become cancerous), and cancer cells can all be detected by collecting a few cells from the cervix and examining them under a microscope. This test forms the basis of cervical screening, which has greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in countries with a national screening program by ensuring that cervical abnormalities are detected at an early, treatable stage. In the UK, for example, since the start of a cervical screening program in 1988 in which women aged 25–64 years are called for testing every 3–5 years, the incidence of cervical cancer (the number of new cases per year) has almost halved at a time when sexually transmitted diseases have more than doubled.
Why Was This Study Done?
Currently, there is little consensus about the age at which cervical screening should stop, and minimal evidence about the impact of cervical screening on the incidence of cervical cancer in older women. In this population-based case control study (a study that compares the characteristics of all the cases of a disease in a population with the characteristics of matched individuals without the disease), the researchers examine the association between screening in women aged 50–64 years and cervical cancer in women aged 65–83 years. They ask whether well-screened women with a history of negative results and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities are at sufficiently low risk of cervical cancer that screening can be stopped at age 65 years, and whether women who are regularly screened (at least once every 5.5 years) between the ages of 50 and 64 years are subsequently at reduced risk of cervical cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly selected two age-matched controls for every woman aged 65–83 years who was diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012 in England and Wales. The researchers included 1,341 women with cervical cancer and 2,646 controls. They extracted each woman's cervical screening details from national databases and calculated the association between screening history and subsequent cervical cancer. Women with adequate negative screening at age 65 years (at least three tests at age 50–64 years with the last one over age 60, the last three of which were negative, and no evidence of high-grade abnormalities) were at the lowest risk of cervical cancer (20-year risk of eight cancers per 10,000 women) compared with unscreened women (20-year risk of 49 cancers per 10,000 women). That is, women who were not screened at age 50–64 years were six times more likely to develop cervical cancer between the ages of 65 and 83 years than women who were screened. The risk of developing cervical cancer among adequately negatively screened women increased with age and with time since the last screen. Finally, the researchers estimate that in the absence of any cervical screening, the rate of cervical cancer among women aged 65–79 years would be 23 cases per 100,000 woman-years, 2.4 times higher than the current rate.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that women who exited the screening program in England and Wales with a history of adequate negative screening between the ages of 50 and 64 years were at a very low risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 65 years or older. The “protection” provided by screening was greatest for women aged 65–69 years and decreased steadily with increasing age and with time since the last negative screen. Because the researchers did not have any information on other characteristics that might have affected cervical cancer risk (for example, number of sexual partners), the women who were screened may have shared other characteristics that reduced their risk of developing cervical cancer. Moreover, these findings, which are based on microscopic examination of cells, may not generalise to the HPV-based screening programs that many countries are considering. Despite these limitations, the researchers conclude that, for now, it seems sensible to continue screening at least until age 60 years and not beyond age 69 years in women with adequate negative screening, but that given increasing life expectancy, screening in older women might be justified in the future.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Anne Rositch and colleagues
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on cervical screening (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about cervical screening
The UK National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme website has detailed information and statistics on cervical screening in England
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer (including a personal story about cervical cancer) and on cervical screening (including personal comments about screening)
Cancer Research UK provides detailed information about all aspects of cervical cancer
More information about cervical cancer and screening is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer and screening (in English and Spanish)
Personal stories about cervical cancer and about cervical screening are available through the charity Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3891624  PMID: 24453946
3.  The Association of the Immune Response Genes to Human Papillomavirus-Related Cervical Disease in a Brazilian Population 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:146079.
The genetic variability of the host contributes to the risk of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical disease. Immune response genes to HPV must be investigated to define patients with the highest risk of developing malignant disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of polymorphic immune response genes, namely KIR, HLA class I and II, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of cytokines with HPV-related cervical disease. We selected 79 non-related, admixed Brazilian women from the state of Paraná, southern region of Brazil, who were infected with high carcinogenic risk HPV and present cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3), and 150 HPV-negative women from the same region matched for ethnicity. KIR genes were genotyped using an in-house PCR-SSP. HLA alleles were typed using a reverse sequence-specific oligonucleotide technique. SNPs of TNF −308G>A, IL6 −174G>C, IFNG +874T>A, TGFB1 +869T>C +915G>C, and IL10 −592C>A −819C>T −1082G>A were evaluated using PCR-SSP. The KIR genes were not associated with HPV, although some pairs of i(inhibitory)KIR-ligands occurred more frequently in patients, supporting a role for NK in detrimental chronic inflammatory and carcinogenesis. Some HLA haplotypes were associated with HPV. The associations of INFG and IL10 SNPs potentially reflect impaired or invalid responses in advanced lesions.
PMCID: PMC3722781  PMID: 23936772
4.  Contribution of TMC6 and 8 (EVER1 and2) variants to cervical cancer susceptibility 
Cervical cancer (CxCa) is caused by persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection; genetic predisposition is also suspected to play a role. The present study is a targeted candidate gene follow-up based on: i) strong clinical evidence demonstrating that mutations in the TMC6 and TMC8 (EVER1 and EVER2) genes associate with the HPV-associated disease Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis (EV), and ii) recent epidemiological data suggesting a genetic susceptibility conferred by polymorphisms in such genes for skin and cervical cancer. Clarifying the association of the TMC6/8 genes with risk of CxCa will help in understanding why some HPV-infected women develop persistent infection, cervical lesions and eventually cancer while others do not. Twenty-two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) harbouring the TMC6/8 genes were genotyped in 2,989 cases with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade III (CINIII) or invasive cervical cancer (ICC) and 2,281 controls from the Swedish population. Association was evaluated in logistic regression models. Two SNPs displayed association with cervical disease: rs2290907 (ORGGvsAA = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.3 - 0.9, p = 0.02) and rs16970849 (ORAGvsGG = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.66 - 0.98, p = 0.03). The present data supports the involvement of the TMC6/8 region in CxCa susceptibility but further analyses are needed to replicate our findings, fully characterize the region and understand the function of the genetic variants involved.
PMCID: PMC3530613  PMID: 21387292
Cervical cancer; EVER1; EVER2; polymorphism; TMC6; TMC8
5.  Characterization of Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the Tumor Necrosis Factor α Promoter Region and in Lymphotoxin α in Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions, Precursors of Cervical Cancer1 
Translational Oncology  2011;4(6):336-344.
Development of cervical cancer is a long process of abnormal cancerous cell growth in the cervix and is primarily the result of infection with specific high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The cytokines tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and lymphotoxin α (LTA) have an important role in all stages of cervical cancer and have the ability to induce the regression or promote the development of human tumors. Biologically important single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) occur within the TNFα and LTA genes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the SNPs in the TNFα promoter region (-163, -238, -244, -308, -376, -857, -863, and -1031) and in the first intron of LTA (+252) in women with precursor lesions of cervical cancer. Overall, we studied 396 women from Mexico City. A total of 191 patients with HPV infection and precursor cervical lesions were subdivided in two groups: those with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (n = 132) and those with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (n = 59). Women (n = 205) negative for HPV and without cervical lesions were also included in the study. DNA was extracted from peripheral white blood cells and from cervical samples, and detection of biallelic polymorphisms of TNFα and LTA was performed using the polymerase chain reaction-sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe and restriction fragment length polymorphism techniques, respectively. We demonstrated that risk is associated with the genotype G/A (odds ratio = 2.48) and that protection is associated with the genotype G/G of SNP TNFα -376 (odds ratio = 0.37).
PMCID: PMC3243656  PMID: 22190997
6.  Cyclin A1 promoter hypermethylation in human papillomavirus-associated cervical cancer 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:55.
The aim of this study was to evaluate epigenetic status of cyclin A1 in human papillomavirus-associated cervical cancer. Y. Tokumaru et al., Cancer Res 64, 5982-7 (Sep 1, 2004)demonstrated in head and neck squamous-cell cancer an inverse correlation between cyclin A1 promoter hypermethylation and TP53 mutation. Human papillomavirus-associated cervical cancer, however, is deprived of TP53 function by a different mechanism. Therefore, it was of interest to investigate the epigenetic alterations during multistep cervical cancer development.
In this study, we performed duplex methylation-specific PCR and reverse transcriptase PCR on several cervical cancer cell lines and microdissected cervical cancers. Furthermore, the incidence of cyclin A1 methylation was studied in 43 samples of white blood cells, 25 normal cervices, and 24, 5 and 30 human papillomavirus-associated premalignant, microinvasive and invasive cervical lesions, respectively.
We demonstrated cyclin A1 methylation to be commonly found in cervical cancer, both in vitro and in vivo, with its physiological role being to decrease gene expression. More important, this study demonstrated that not only is cyclin A1 promoter hypermethylation strikingly common in cervical cancer, but is also specific to the invasive phenotype in comparison with other histopathological stages during multistep carcinogenesis. None of the normal cells and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions exhibited methylation. In contrast, 36.6%, 60% and 93.3% of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, microinvasive and invasive cancers, respectively, showed methylation.
This methylation study indicated that cyclin A1 is a potential tumor marker for early diagnosis of invasive cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC1435765  PMID: 16524460
7.  Anal Dysplasia Screening 
Executive Summary
This review considered the role of the anal Pap test as a screening test for anal dysplasia in patients at high risk of anal SCC. The screening process is now thought to be improved with the addition of testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV) in high-risk populations. High-resolution anoscopy (a method to view the rectal area, using an anoscope, a lighted instrument inserted into the rectum) rather than routine anoscopy-guided biopsy, is also now considered to be the diagnostic standard.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Anal cancer, like cervical cancer, is a member of a broader group of anogenital cancers known to be associated with sexually transmitted viral HPV infection. Human papillomavirus is extremely prevalent, particularly in young, sexually active populations. Sexual practices involving receptive anal intercourse lead to significantly elevated risk for anal dysplasia and cancer, particularly in those with immune dysfunctions.
Anal cancer is rare. It occurs at a rate of about 1 to 2 per 100,000 in the general population. It is the least common of the lower gastrointestinal cancers, representing about 4% of them, in contrast to colorectal cancers, which remain the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy. Certain segments of the population, however, such as HIV-positive men and women, other chronic immune-suppressed patients (e.g., after a transplant), injection drug users, and women with genital dysplasia /cancer, have a high susceptibility to anal cancer.
Those with the highest identified risk for anal cancer are HIV-positive homosexual and bisexual men, at a rate of 70 per 100,000 men. The risk for anal cancer is reported to be increasing dramatically in HIV-positive males and females, particularly since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s. The introduction of effective viral therapy has been said to have transformed the AIDS epidemic in developed countries into a chronic disease state of long-term immunosuppression. In Ontario, there are about 25,000 people living with HIV infection; more than 6,000 of these are women. About 28% of the newly diagnosed HIV infections are in women, a doubling since 1999. It has also been estimated that 1 of 3 people living with HIV do no know it.
Health Technology Description
Anal Pap test screening involves the blind insertion of a swab into the anal canal and fixing cells either on a slide or in fluid for cytological examination. Anal cytology classified by the standardized Bethesda System is the same classification used for cervical cytology. It has 4 categories: normal, atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance, or squamous intraepithelial lesions which are further classified into low- or high-grade lesions. Abnormal cytological findings are subjected to further evaluations by high-resolution anoscopy, a technique similar to cervical colposcopy, and biopsy. Several HPV deoxyribonucleic acid detection technologies such as the Hybrid 11 Capture and the polymerase chain reaction are available to detect and differentiate HPV viral strains.
Unlike cervical cancer, there are no universally accepted guidelines or standards of care for anal dysplasia. Moreover, there are no formal screening programs provincially, nationally, or internationally. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute has recently recommended (March 2007) annual anal pap testing in high-risk groups. In Ontario, reimbursement exists only for Pap tests for cervical cancer screening. That is, there is no reimbursement for anal Pap testing in men or women, and HPV screening tests for cervical or anal cancer are also not reimbursed.
The scientific evidence base was evaluated through a systematic literature review. Assessments of current practices were obtained through consultations with various agencies and individuals including the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care AIDS Bureau; Public Health Infectious Diseases Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Cancer Care Ontario; HIV/AIDS researchers; pathology experts; and HIV/AIDS clinical program directors. An Ontario-based budget impact was also done.
No direct evidence was found for the existence of controlled studies evaluating the effectiveness of anal Pap test screening programs for impact on anal cancer morbidity or mortality. In addition, no studies were found on the use of HPV DNA testing in the screening or diagnostic setting for anal dysplasia. The reported prevalence of HPV infection in high-risk groups, particularly HIV-positive males, however, was sufficiently high to preclude any utility of HPV testing as an adjunct to anal Pap testing.
Nine reports involving studies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada were identified that evaluated the performance characteristics of anal Pap test screening for anal dysplasia. All involved hospital-based specialty HIV/AIDS care clinics with mainly HIV-positive males. All studies involved experienced pathologists, so the results generally represent best-case scenarios. Estimates of anal Pap test sensitivity and specificity were highly variable, and depended on the varying prevalence of cytology abnormality and differential thresholds for abnormality for both cytology and histopathology.
In the largest study of HIV-positive males, sensitivity varied from 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36%–56%) to 69% (95% CI, 60%–78%). Specificity ranged from 59% (95% CI, 53%–65%) to 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%). In the only study of HIV-negative males, sensitivity ranged from 26% (95% CI, 5%-47%) to 47% (95% CI, 26%–68%). Specificity ranged from 81% (95% CI, 76%–85%) to 92% (95% CI, 89%–95%).
In comparison, cervical Pap testing has also been evaluated mainly in settings where there is a high prevalence of the disease, and estimates of sensitivitykij and specificity were also low and highly variable. In a systematic review involving cervical Pap testing, sensitivity ranged from 30% to 87% (mean, 47%) and specificity from 86% to 100% (mean, 95%).
No direct evidence exists to support the effectiveness of an anal Pap test screening program to reduce anal cancer mortality or morbidity. There are, however, strong parallels with cervical pap testing for cervical cancer. Sexually transmitted HPV viral infection is currently the acknowledged common causative agent for both anal and cervical cancer. Anal cancer rates in high-risk populations are approaching those of cervical cancer before the implementation of Pap testing.
The anal Pap test, although it has been mainly evaluated only in HIV-positive males, has similar operating characteristics of sensitivity and specificity as the cervical Pap test. In general, the treatment options for precancer dysplasia in the cervix and the anus are similar, but treatment involving a definitive surgical resection in the anus is more limited because of the higher risk of complications. A range of ablative therapies has been applied for anal dysplasia, but evidence on treatment effectiveness, tolerability and durability, particularly in the HIV-positive patient, is limited.
PMCID: PMC3377578  PMID: 23074504
8.  Genomic amplification of the human telomerase gene (hTERC) associated with human papillomavirus is related to the progression of uterine cervical dysplasia to invasive cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2012;7:147.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection plays an etiological role in the development of cervical dysplasia and cancer. Amplification of human telomerase gene (hTERC) and over expression of telomerase were found to be associated with cervical tumorigenesis. This study was performed to analyze genomic amplification of hTERC gene, telomerase activity in association with HPV infection in different stages of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and cervical cancer. We were studying the role of hTERC in the progression of uterine cervical dysplasia to invasive cancer, and proposed an adjunct method for cervical cancer screening.
Exfoliated cervical cells were collected from 114 patients with non neoplastic lesion (NNL, n=27), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN1, n=26, CIN2, n=16, CIN3, n=24) and cervical carcinoma (CA, n=21), and analyzed for amplification of hTERC with two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probe and HPV-DNA with Hybrid Capture 2.
From these patients, 53 were taken biopsy to analyze telomerase activity by telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) and expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), with immunohistochemistry (IHC). All biopsies were clinically confirmed by phathologists.
Amplification of hTERC was significantly associated with the histologic diagnoses (p<0.05). The positive correlation was found between the level of hTERC amplification and histologic grading of dysplasia (CIN2/3 from CIN1 or normal, P=0.03). A profounding increase in the accumulation of HPV and hTERC positive cases was observed in the CIN3 subgroup compared with the CIN2 group, 25% versus 62.96%, respectively (p=0.007).
hTERC ampliffication can be detected with FISH technique on exfoliated cervical cells. Amplification of hTERC and HPV infection are associated with more progressive CIN3 and CA. The testing of hTERC amplification might be a supplementary to cytology screening and HPV test, especially high-risk patients.
Virtual slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3488518  PMID: 23107094
Cervical cancer; Telomerase; hTERT; hTERC; HR-HPV
9.  Identification and Validation of Human Papillomavirus Encoded microRNAs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70202.
We report here identification and validation of the first papillomavirus encoded microRNAs expressed in human cervical lesions and cell lines. We established small RNA libraries from ten human papillomavirus associated cervical lesions including cancer and two human papillomavirus harboring cell lines. These libraries were sequenced using SOLiD 4 technology. We used the sequencing data to predict putative viral microRNAs and discovered nine putative papillomavirus encoded microRNAs. Validation was performed for five candidates, four of which were successfully validated by qPCR from cervical tissue samples and cell lines: two were encoded by HPV 16, one by HPV 38 and one by HPV 68. The expression of HPV 16 microRNAs was further confirmed by in situ hybridization, and colocalization with p16INK4A was established. Prediction of cellular target genes of HPV 16 encoded microRNAs suggests that they may play a role in cell cycle, immune functions, cell adhesion and migration, development, and cancer. Two putative viral target sites for the two validated HPV 16 miRNAs were mapped to the E5 gene, one in the E1 gene, two in the L1 gene and one in the LCR region. This is the first report to show that papillomaviruses encode their own microRNA species. Importantly, microRNAs were found in libraries established from human cervical disease and carcinoma cell lines, and their expression was confirmed in additional tissue samples. To our knowledge, this is also the first paper to use in situ hybridization to show the expression of a viral microRNA in human tissue.
PMCID: PMC3728184  PMID: 23936163
10.  Genetic variation in the TLR and NF-κB genetic pathways and cervical and vulvar cancer risk: a population-based case-control study 
Genital infection with the oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) is the necessary cause of cervical cancer and of a large fraction of vulvar cancers. The toll-like receptor (TLR) and the nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling pathways have been implicated in inflammation, autoimmune disease and cancer, but whether common nucleotide variation in these pathways is associated with the risk of cervical and vulvar cancers has received little study. Using data from a population-based case-control study of cervical and vulvar cancers, we genotyped 205 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 32 candidate gene regions within these pathways. Gene-based analyses were employed to estimate the associations between individual gene regions and the risk of cervical and vulvar cancers. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to assess the risk of cervical and vulvar cancers for each SNP. P-values were adjusted for multiple testing. A total of 876 cervical cancer cases, 517 vulvar cancer cases and 1,100 controls were included in the analysis. The TNF region was significantly associated with the risks of cervical cancer (gene-based P-value: 2.0×10−4) and vulvar cancer (gene-based P-value: 1.0×10−4). The rare allele (A) of SNP rs2239704 in the 5′ UTR of the LTA gene was significantly associated with increased risks of cervical cancer (OR=1.31, 95% CI: 1.15–1.50; adjusted P-value: 0.013) and vulvar cancer (OR=1.51, 95% CI: 1.30–1.75; adjusted P-value: 1.9×10−5). These findings add to the evidence of the importance of the immune system in the etiology of cervical and vulvar cancers.
PMCID: PMC3883910  PMID: 23824834
cervical cancer; vulvar cancer; toll-like receptor; nuclear factor-κB; tumor necrosis factor
11.  Genetic polymorphisms and cervical cancer development: ATM G5557A and p53bp1 C1236G 
Oncology Reports  2011;27(4):1188-1192.
Persistent infections by high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) have been established as the etiological agent of cervical cancer. The integration of the HPV genome into the host genome is a crucial step in cervical carcinogenesis, although, correct activation of DNA damage repair pathways will avoid the development of cancer. Recent data indicate that several polymorphisms of key regulators from the DNA damage repair pathway (i.e. 53BP1 and ATM) are associated with cancer development susceptibility. We have developed a hospital-based retrospective study considering 429 cervical specimens from women with different cervical lesions including invasive carcinoma. This study aimed to evaluate the role of the ATM D1853N (5557G>A) and 53bp1 D353E (1236C>G) polymorphisms in the development of cervical cancer, using TaqMan® SNP Genotyping Assays. Statistical analysis revealed that ATM 5557GG homozygous individuals (OR=1.94; p=0.044) are at increased risk of developing LSIL, while for the 53BP1 1236C>G polymorphism no association was found. Nevertheless, we observed a tendency for an increased risk of LSIL in 53BP1 1236C allele carriers (OR=1.63; p=0.069). Logistic regression adjusted for age revealed no significant differences from the non-adjusted analysis. This is the first study to evaluate the role of ATM G5557A and P53BP1 C1236G polymorphisms in cervical cancer susceptibility. This study reveals a possible trend of both polymorphisms for a genetic susceptibility pattern of cervical cancer development. Hence, our results may be of interest for future understanding of the progression of cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC3583604  PMID: 22200742
ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated protein; p53bp1; genetic polymorphism; DNA damage; human papillomavirus; cervical cancer
12.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the PRDX3 and RPS19 and Risk of HPV Persistence and Cervical Precancer/Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e33619.
Host genetic factors might affect the risk of progression from infection with carcinogenic human papillomavirus (HPV), the etiologic agent for cervical cancer, to persistent HPV infection, and hence to cervical precancer and cancer.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We assessed 18,310 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 1113 genes in 416 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3 (CIN3)/cancer cases, 356 women with persistent carcinogenic HPV infection (median persistence of 25 months) and 425 randomly selected women (non-cases and non-HPV persistent) from the 10,049 women from the Guanacaste, Costa Rica HPV natural history cohort. For gene and SNP associations, we computed age-adjusted odds ratio and p-trend. Three comparisons were made: 1) association with CIN3/cancer (compared CIN3/cancer cases to random controls), 2) association with persistence (compared HPV persistence to random controls), and 3) progression (compared CIN3/cancers with HPV-persistent group). Regions statistically significantly associated with CIN3/cancer included genes for peroxiredoxin 3 PRDX3, and ribosomal protein S19 RPS19. The single most significant SNPs from each gene associated with CIN3/cancer were PRDX3 rs7082598 (Ptrend<0.0001), and RPS19 rs2305809 (Ptrend=0.0007), respectively. Both SNPs were also associated with progression.
These data suggest involvement of two genes, RSP19 and PRDX3, or other SNPs in linkage disequilibrium, with cervical cancer risk. Further investigation showed that they may be involved in both the persistence and progression transition stages. Our results require replication but, if true, suggest a role for ribosomal dysfunction, mitochondrial processes, and/or oxidative stress, or other unknown function of these genes in cervical carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3322120  PMID: 22496757
13.  Common Genetic Variants and Risk for HPV Persistence and Progression to Cervical Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8667.
HPV infrequently persists and progresses to cervical cancer. We examined host genetic factors hypothesized to play a role in determining which subset of individuals infected with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) have persistent infection and further develop cervical pre-cancer/cancer compared to the majority of infected individuals who will clear infection.
We evaluated 7140 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 305 candidate genes hypothesized to be involved in DNA repair, viral infection and cell entry in 416 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3 (CIN3)/cancer cases, 356 HPV persistent women (median: 25 months), and 425 random controls (RC) from the 10,049 women Guanacaste Costa Rica Natural History study. We used logistic regression to compute odds ratios and p-trend for CIN3/cancer and HPV persistence in relation to SNP genotypes and haplotypes (adjusted for age). We obtained pathway and gene-level summary of associations by computing the adaptive combination of p-values. Genes/regions statistically significantly associated with CIN3/cancer included the viral infection and cell entry genes 2′,5′ oligoadenylate synthetase gene 3 (OAS3), sulfatase 1 (SULF1), and interferon gamma (IFNG); the DNA repair genes deoxyuridine triphosphate (DUT), dosage suppressor of mck 1 homolog (DMC1), and general transcription factor IIH, polypeptide 3 (GTF2H4); and the EVER1 and EVER2 genes (p<0.01). From each region, the single most significant SNPs associated with CIN3/cancer were OAS3 rs12302655, SULF1 rs4737999, IFNG rs11177074, DUT rs3784621, DMC1 rs5757133, GTF2H4 rs2894054, EVER1/EVER2 rs9893818 (p-trends≤0.001). SNPs for OAS3, SULF1, DUT, and GTF2H4 were associated with HPV persistence whereas IFNG and EVER1/EVER2 SNPs were associated with progression to CIN3/cancer. We note that the associations observed were less than two-fold. We identified variations DNA repair and viral binding and cell entry genes associated with CIN3/cancer. Our results require replication but suggest that different genes may be responsible for modulating risk in the two critical transition steps important for cervical carcinogenesis: HPV persistence and disease progression.
PMCID: PMC2801608  PMID: 20084279
14.  Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gynecologic and Urologic Oncology 
Executive Summary
An application was received to review the evidence on the ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies (e.g. endometrial and cervical cancers). Limitations to the current standard of care include the lack of trained physicians on minimally invasive surgery and limited access to minimally invasive surgery for patients. The potential benefits of ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ include improved technical manipulation and physician uptake leading to increased surgeries, and treatment and management of these cancers.
The demand for robotic surgery for the treatment and management of prostate cancer has been increasing due to its alleged benefits of recovery of erectile function and urinary continence, two important factors of men’s health. The potential technical benefits of robotic surgery leading to improved patient functional outcomes are surgical precision and vision.
Clinical Need
Uterine and cervical cancers represent 5.4% (4,400 of 81,700) and 1.6% (1,300 of 81,700), respectively, of incident cases of cancer among female cancers in Canada. Uterine cancer, otherwise referred to as endometrial cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus. The most common treatment option for endometrial cancer is removing the cancer through surgery. A surgical option is the removal of the uterus and cervix through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope which is referred to as total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Risk factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include taking estrogen replacement therapy after menopause, being obese, early age at menarche, late age at menopause, being nulliparous, having had high-dose radiation to the pelvis, and use of tamoxifen.
Cervical cancer occurs at the lower narrow end of the uterus. There are more treatment options for cervical cancer compared to endometrial cancer, however total laparoscopic hysterectomy is also a treatment option. Risk factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer are multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, infection with the human papillomavirus, and cigarette smoking, whereas barrier-type of contraception as a risk factor decreases the risk of cervical cancer.
Prostate cancer is ranked first in men in Canada in terms of the number of new cases among all male cancers (25,500 of 89,300 or 28.6%). The impact on men who develop prostate cancer is substantial given the potential for erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Prostate cancer arises within the prostate gland, which resides in the male reproductive system and near the bladder. Radical retropubic prostatectomy is the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer. Prostate cancer affects men above 60 years of age. Other risk factors include a family history of prostate cancer, being of African descent, being obese, consuming a diet high in fat, physical inactivity, and working with cadium.
The Da Vinci Surgical System
The Da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic device. There are four main components to the system: 1) the surgeon’s console, where the surgeon sits and views a magnified three-dimensional image of the surgical field; 2) patient side-cart, which sits beside the patient and consists of three instrument arms and one endoscope arm; 3) detachable instruments (endowrist instruments and intuitive masters), which simulate fine motor human movements. The hand movements of the surgeon’s hands at the surgeon’s console are translated into smaller ones by the robotic device and are acted out by the attached instruments; 4) three-dimensional vision system: the camera unit or endoscope arm. The main advantages of use of the robotic device are: 1) the precision of the instrument and improved dexterity due to the use of “wristed” instruments; 2) three-dimensional imaging, with improved ability to locate blood vessels, nerves and tissues; 3) the surgeon’s console, which reduces fatigue accompanied with conventional laparoscopy surgery and allows for tremor-free manipulation. The main disadvantages of use of the robotic device are the costs including instrument costs ($2.6 million in US dollars), cost per use ($200 per use), the costs associated with training surgeons and operating room personnel, and the lack of tactile feedback, with the trade-off being increased visual feedback.
Research Questions
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
1. What is the effectiveness of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
2. What are the incremental costs of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
For prostate cancer,
3. What is the effectiveness of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
4. What are the incremental costs of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on May 12, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, CINAHL, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment for studies published from January 1, 2000 until May 12, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles (January 1, 2000-May 12, 2010)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a primary data source (e.g. obtained in a clinical setting)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a secondary data source (e.g. hospital- or population-based registries)
Study design and methods must be clearly described
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials and/or cohort studies, case-case studies, regardless of sample size, cost-effectiveness studies
Exclusion Criteria
Duplicate publications (with the more recent publication on the same study population included)
Non-English papers
Animal or in-vitro studies
Case reports or case series without a referent or comparison group
Studies on long-term survival which may be affected by treatment
Studies that do not examine the cancers (e.g. advanced disease) or outcomes of interest
Outcomes of Interest
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Number of complications*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of conversions to laparotomy*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
For prostate cancer,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Amount of morphine use/pain*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of transfusions*
- Duration of catheterization
- Number of complications*
- Number of anastomotic strictures*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
Oncologic factors
- Proportion of positive surgical margins
Long-term outcomes
- Urinary continence
- Erectile function
Summary of Findings
Robotic use for gynecologic oncology compared to:
Laparotomy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
The beneficial effect of robotic surgery was shown in pooled analysis for complications, owing to increased sample size.
More work is needed to clarify the role of complications in terms of safety, including improved study designs, analysis and measurement.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization, less blood loss and fewer conversions to laparotomy likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations and blood loss is low.
Fewer conversions to laparotomy indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity.
Robotic use for urologic oncology, specifically prostate cancer, compared to:
Retropubic surgery: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss/fewer individuals requiring transfusions. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations. There was a beneficial effect in terms of decreased positive surgical margins and erectile dysfunction. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of improved cancer control and functional outcomes, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
Surgeon skill had an impact on cancer control and functional outcomes.
The results for complications were inconsistent when measured as either total number of complications, pain management or anastomosis. There is some suggestion that robotic surgery is safe with respect to less post-operative pain management required compared to retropubic surgery, however improved study design and measurement of complications need to be further addressed.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations is low.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of less blood loss and fewer individuals requiring transfusions likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for blood loss is low.
The potential link between less blood loss, improved visualization and improved functional outcomes is an important consideration for use of robotics.
All studies included were observational in nature and therefore the results must be interpreted cautiously.
Economic Analysis
The objective of this project was to assess the economic impact of robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) for endometrial, cervical, and prostate cancers in the province of Ontario.
A budget impact analysis was undertaken to report direct costs associated with open surgery (OS), endoscopic laparoscopy (EL) and robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) based on clinical literature review outcomes, to report a budget impact in the province based on volumes and costs from administrative data sets, and to project a future impact of RAL in Ontario. A cost-effectiveness analysis was not conducted because of the low quality evidence from the clinical literature review.
Hospital costs were obtained from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative (OCCI) for the appropriate Canadian Classification of Health Intervention (CCI) codes restricted to selective ICD-10 diagnostic codes after consultation with experts in the field. Physician fees were obtained from the Ontario Schedule of Benefits (OSB) after consultation with experts in the field. Fees were costed based on operation times reported in the clinical literature for the procedures being investigated. Volumes of procedures were obtained from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) administrative databases.
Direct costs associated with RAL, EL and OS included professional fees, hospital costs (including disposable instruments), radiotherapy costs associated with positive surgical margins in prostate cancer and conversion to OS in gynecological cancer. The total cost per case was higher for RAL than EL and OS for both gynecological and prostate cancers. There is also an acquisition cost associated with RAL. After conversation with the only supplier in Canada, hospitals are looking to spend an initial 3.6M to acquire the robotic surgical system
Previous volumes of OS and EL procedures were used to project volumes into Years 1-3 using a linear mathematical expression. Burden of OS and EL hysterectomies and prostatectomies was calculated by multiplying the number of cases for that year by the cost/case of the procedure.
The number of procedures is expected to increase in the next three years based on historical data. RAL is expected to capture this market by 65% after consultation with experts. If it’s assumed that RAL will capture the current market in Ontario by 65%, the net impact is expected to be by Year 3, 3.1M for hysterectomy and 6.7M for prostatectomy procedures respectively in the province.
RAL has diffused in the province with four surgical systems in place in Ontario, two in Toronto and two in London. RAL is a more expensive technology on a per case basis due to more expensive robot specific instrumentation and physician labour reflected by increased OR time reported in the clinical literature. There is also an upfront cost to acquire the machine and maintenance contract. RAL is expected to capture the market at 65% with project net impacts by Year 3 of 3.1M and 6.7M for hysterectomy and prostatectomy respectively.
PMCID: PMC3382308  PMID: 23074405
15.  Cervical cancer 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0818.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women. In the UK, incidence fell after the introduction of the cervical screening programme, to the current level of approximately 2334 women in 2008, with a mortality to incidence ratio of 0.33. Survival ranges from almost 100% 5-year disease-free survival for treated stage Ia disease to 5–15% in stage IV disease. Survival is also influenced by tumour bulk, age, and comorbid conditions.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions to prevent cervical cancer? What are the effects of interventions to manage early-stage cervical cancer? What are the effects of interventions to manage bulky early-stage cervical cancer? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 14 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for preventing cervical cancer; conisation of the cervix for microinvasive carcinoma (stage Ia1), conisation of the cervix plus lymphadenectomy (stage Ia2 and low-volume, good prognostic factor stage Ib), radical trachelectomy for low-volume stage Ib disease, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy, chemoradiotherapy, or different types of hysterectomy versus each other for treating early-stage and bulky early-stage cervical cancer.
Key Points
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women. In the UK, incidence fell after the introduction of the cervical screening programme to the current level of approximately 2334 women in 2008, with a mortality to incidence ratio of 0.33.About 80% of tumours are squamous type, and staging is based on the FIGO classification.Survival ranges from almost 100% 5-year disease-free survival for treated stage Ia disease to 5–15% in stage IV disease. Survival is also influenced by tumour bulk, age, and comorbid conditions.Development of cervical cancer is strongly associated with HPV infection, acquired mainly by sexual intercourse.The peak prevalence of HPV infection is 20–40% in women aged 20 to 30 years, but in 80% of cases the infection resolves within 12 to 18 months.Other risk factors for cervical cancer include early onset of sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, long-term use of oral contraceptives, tobacco smoking, low socioeconomic status, and immunosuppressive therapy.
Vaccination against HPV is effective in preventing certain types of oncogenic HPV infection, and at reducing rates of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, but there has been insufficient long-term follow-up to assess effects on cervical cancer rates.
Conisation with adequate excision margins is considered effective for microinvasive carcinoma (stage Ia1), and can preserve fertility, unlike simple hysterectomy; however, it has been associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. Conisation is often performed for stage Ia1 disease, but evidence for its benefit is from observational studies only.
We don’t know how conisation of the cervix with pelvic lymphadenectomy and simple or radical hysterectomy compare with each other for stage Ia2 and low volume stage 1b cervical cancer, as we found no RCTs.
We don’t know how simple hysterectomy plus lymphadenectomy and radical hysterectomy plus lymphadenectomy compare with each other, in early cervical cancer, as we found no RCT evidence.
Limited observational evidence shows that radical trachelectomy plus lymphadenectomy results in similar disease-free survival as radical hysterectomy in women with early-stage cervical cancer; however, we found no RCTs. Radical trachelectomy plus lymphadenectomy can preserve fertility.
Limited RCT evidence shows that radiotherapy is as effective as surgery in early-stage disease. Overall and disease-free survival are similar after radiotherapy or radical hysterectomy plus lymphadenectomy, but radiotherapy is less likely to cause severe adverse effects.
Chemoradiotherapy improves survival compared with radiotherapy in women with bulky early-stage cervical cancer. Combined chemoradiotherapy improves overall and progression-free survival when used either before or after hysterectomy, but is associated with more haematological and gastrointestinal toxicity compared with radiotherapy alone.
The benefits of neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus surgery compared with radiotherapy alone are unknown.
PMCID: PMC3217784  PMID: 21791123
16.  Differences in serological IgA responses to recombinant baculovirus-derived human papillomavirus E2 protein in the natural history of cervical neoplasia. 
British Journal of Cancer  1997;75(8):1144-1150.
Infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) presents a high risk for the subsequent development of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and cervical carcinoma. Immunological mechanisms are likely to play a role in control of cervical HPV lesions. The HPV E2 protein has roles in virus replication and transcription, and loss of E2 functions may be associated with progression of cervical neoplasia. Accordingly, it is of interest to monitor immune responses to the E2 protein, and previous studies have reported associations between serological reactivity to E2 peptide antigens and cervical neoplasia. In order to investigate serological responses to native, full-length E2 protein, we expressed HPV-16 E2 proteins with and without an N-terminal polyhistidine tag using the baculovirus system. Purified HPV-16 E2 protein was used to develop enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to detect serological IgG and IgA responses in cervical neoplasia patients and controls. We found that serum IgA levels against the E2 protein were elevated in CIN patients relative to normal control subjects but were not elevated in cervical cancer patients. Moreover, there appeared to be a gradient of response within cervical neoplasia such that the highest antibody levels were seen in lower grades of neoplasia up to CIN 2, whereas lower levels were observed in CIN 3 and still lower levels in cervical carcinoma. These findings suggest that the IgA antibody response to E2 may associate with stage and progression in cervical neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC2222781  PMID: 9099962
17.  Type specific persistence of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) as indicator of high grade cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions in young women: population based prospective follow up study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;325(7364):572.
To investigate the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the development of cervical neoplasia in women with no previous cervical cytological abnormalities; whether the presence of virus DNA predicts development of squamous intraepithelial lesion; and whether the risk of incident squamous intraepithelial lesions differs with repeated detection of the same HPV type versus repeated detection of different types.
Population based prospective cohort study.
General population in Copenhagen, Denmark.
10 758 women aged 20-29 years followed up for development of cervical cytological abnormalities; 370 incident cases were detected (40 with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, 165 with low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, 165 with high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions).
Main outcome measures
Results of cervical smear tests and cervical swabs at enrolment and at the second examination about two years later.
Compared with women who were negative for human papillomavirus at enrolment, those with positive results had a significantly increased risk at follow up of having atypical cells (odds ratio 3.2, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 7.9), low grade lesions (7.5, 4.8 to 11.7), or high grade lesions (25.8, 15.3 to 43.6). Similarly, women who were positive for HPV at the second examination had a strongly increased risk of low (34.3, 17.6 to 67.0) and high grade lesions (60.7, 25.5 to 144.0). For high grade lesions the risk was strongly increased if the same virus type was present at both examinations (813.0, 168.2 to 3229.2).
Infection with human papillomavirus precedes the development of low and high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. For high grade lesions the risk is greatest in women positive for the same type of HPV on repeated testing.
What is already known on this topicPersistence of infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is thought to have a role in the development of cervical neoplasiaPrevious studies have included only a few cases of high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, and few have randomly sampled women from the general populationWhat this study addsIn women aged 20-29, HPV infection preceded the development of high grade lesionsPersistent HPV infection with a specific HPV type was an indicator of incident high grade lesions among young women in the general populationThe association between persistence and high grade cervical lesions was more pronounced among women aged over 25
PMCID: PMC124551  PMID: 12228133
18.  Papillomavirus-Mediated Neoplastic Progression Is Associated with Reciprocal Changes in Jagged1 and Manic Fringe Expression Linked to Notch Activation†  
Journal of Virology  2004;78(16):8687-8700.
Infection by high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV) and persistent expression of viral oncogenes E6 and E7 are causally linked to the development of cervical cancer. These oncogenes are necessary but insufficient for complete transformation of human epithelial cells in vivo. Intracellular Notch1 protein is detected in invasive cervical carcinomas (ICC), and truncated Notch1 alleles complement the function of E6/E7 in the transformation of human epithelial cells. Here we investigate potential mechanisms of Notch activation in a human cervical neoplasia. We have analyzed human cervical lesions and serial passages of an HPV type 16-positive human cervical low-grade lesion-derived cell line, W12, that shows abnormalities resembling those seen in cervical neoplastic progression in vivo. Late-passage, but not early-passage, W12 and progression of the majority of human high-grade cervical lesions to ICC showed upregulation of Notch ligand and Jagged1 and downregulation of Manic Fringe, a negative regulator of Jagged1-Notch1 signaling. Concomitantly, an increase in Notch/CSL (CBF1, Suppressor of Hairless, Lag1)-driven reporter activity and a decrease in Manic Fringe upstream regulatory region (MFng-URR)-driven reporter activity was observed in late-passage versus early passage W12. Analysis of the MFng-URR revealed that Notch signaling represses this gene through Hairy Enhancer of Split 1, a transcriptional target of the Notch pathway. Expression of Manic Fringe by a recombinant adenovirus, dominant-negative Jagged1, or small interfering RNA against Jagged1 inhibits the tumorigenicity of CaSki, an ICC-derived cell line that was previously shown to be susceptible to growth inhibition induced by antisense Notch1. We suggest that activation of Notch in cervical neoplasia is Jagged1 dependent and that its susceptibility to the influence of Manic Fringe is of therapeutic value.
PMCID: PMC479091  PMID: 15280477
19.  Association of traffic-related hazardous air pollutants and cervical dysplasia in an urban multiethnic population: a cross-sectional study 
Environmental Health  2014;13:52.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a necessary cause in the development of cervical cancer; however, not all women infected with HPV develop cervical cancer indicating that other risk factors are involved. Our objective was to determine the association between exposure to ambient levels of common traffic-related air toxics and cervical dysplasia, a precursor lesion for cervical cancer.
The study sample consisted of women enrolled in a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate diagnostic techniques for cervical disease in Houston, Texas. The current assessment is a secondary data analysis in which cases were defined as women diagnosed with cervical dysplasia, while those without cervical dysplasia served as controls. Residential census tract-level estimates of ambient benzene, diesel particulate matter (DPM), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were used to assess exposure. Census tract-level pollutant estimates were obtained from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate prevalence odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, education, smoking status, and HPV status.
Women in the highest residential exposure categories for benzene and DPM had an increased prevalence of cervical dysplasia compared to the lowest exposure category (Benzene: aOR [95% CI] for high exposure = 1.97[1.07-3.62], very high exposure = 2.30[1.19-4.46]. DPM: aOR [95% CI] for high exposure = 2.83[1.55-5.16], very high exposure = 2.10[1.07-4.11]). Similarly, women with high residential exposure to PAHs had an increased prevalence of cervical dysplasia (aOR [95% CI] = 2.46[1.35-4.48]). The highest PAH exposure category was also positively associated with cervical dysplasia prevalence but was not statistically significant. Assessment of the combined effect of HAP exposure indicates that exposure to high levels of more than one HAP is positively associated with cervical dysplasia prevalence (p for trend = 0.004).
Traffic-related HAPs, such as benzene, DPM, and PAHs, are not as well-regulated and monitored as criteria air pollutants (e.g., ozone), underscoring the need for studies evaluating the role of these toxicants on disease risk. Our results suggest that exposure to traffic-related air toxics may increase cervical dysplasia prevalence.
PMCID: PMC4063240  PMID: 24924773
Benzene; Cervical dysplasia; Diesel particulate matter; Hazardous air pollutants; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
20.  Prospective seroepidemiological study of role of human papillomavirus in non-cervical anogenital cancers. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1997;315(7109):646-649.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between infection with the major oncogenic types of human papillomavirus and the risk of developing non-cervical anogenital cancers in a cohort followed up prospectively. DESIGN: Data from two large serum banks to which about 700,000 people had donated serum samples were followed up for a mean of 8 years. People who developed non-cervical anogenital cancers during follow up were identified by registry linkage with the nationwide cancer registries in Finland and Norway. Within this cohort a nested case-control study was conducted based on the serological diagnosis of infection with human papillomavirus types 16, 18, and 33. SUBJECTS: 81 cases and 240 controls matched for sex, age, and storage time of serum samples. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Odds ratios of developing non-cervical anogenital cancers in presence of IgG antibodies to specific micro-organisms. RESULTS: Subjects seropositive for human papillomavirus type 16 had an increased risk of developing non-cervical anogenital cancers (odds ratio 3.1 (95% confidence interval 1.4 to 6.9)). Subjects seropositive for type 33 also had an increased risk (odds ratio 2.8 (1.0 to 8.3)) but not significantly after adjustment for infection with type 16. Seropositivity for human papillomavirus type 16 was associated with an increased risk of developing vulvar and vaginal cancers (odds ratio 4.5 (1.1 to 22)) and a strongly increased risk of developing preinvasive vulvar and vaginal lesions (odds ratio infinity (3.8 to infinity)). Seropositivity for human papillomavirus type 18 increased the risk of developing preinvasive lesions (odds ratio 12 (1.2 to 590)). High, but non-significant odds ratios for types 16 and 33 were seen for penile cancers. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides prospective seroepidemiological evidence that infection with human papillomavirus type 16 confers an increased risk of developing non-cervical genital cancers, particularly vulvar and vaginal cancers.
PMCID: PMC2127456  PMID: 9310566
21.  Cell culture model predicts human disease: Altered expression of junction proteins and matrix metalloproteinases in cervical dysplasia 
Cervical cancer is necessarily caused by human papillomaviruses, which encode three oncogenes manifesting their functions by interfering with a number of cellular proteins and pathways: the E5, E6, and E7 proteins. We have earlier found in our microarray studies that the E5 oncogene crucially affects the expression of cellular genes involved in adhesion and motility of epithelial cells.
In order to biologically validate our previous experimental findings we performed immunohistochemical staining of a representative set of tissue samples from different grades of high-risk human papillomavirus associated cervical disease as well as normal squamous and columnar cervical epithelium. Three-dimensional collagen raft cultures established from E5-expressing and control epithelial cells were also examined. The expression of p16, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) -7, MMP-16, cytokeratin (CK) 8/18, laminin, E-cadherin and beta-catenin was studied.
In agreement with our previous microarray studies, we found intense staining for E-cadherin and beta-catenin in adherens junctions even in high-grade cervical lesions. Staining for MMP-16 was increased in severe disease as well. No significant change in staining for MMP-7 and cytokeratin 8/18 along with the grade of cervical squamous epithelial disease was observed.
Here we have confirmed, using tissue material from human papillomavirus associated lesions, some of the cellular gene expression modifications that we earlier reported in an experimental system studying specifically the E5 oncogene of papillomaviruses. These findings were partially surprising in the context of cervical carcinogenesis and emphasize that the complexity of carcinogenesis is not yet fully understood. Microarray approaches provide a wide overwiev of gene expression in experimental settings, which may yield biologically valid biomarkers for disease diagnostics, prognosis, and follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3495715  PMID: 22863036
Cadherin; Catenin; CIN; Cytokeratin; E5; HPV; Microarray; MMP
22.  Cervical cytological changes in HIV-infected patients attending care and treatment clinic at Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
Tanzania is among Sub-Saharan countries mostly affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, females being more vulnerable than males. HIV infected women appear to have a higher rate of persistent infection by high risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) strongly associated with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) and invasive cervical carcinoma. Furthermore, although HIV infection and cervical cancer are major public health problems, the frequency and HIV/HPV association of cervical cancer and HSIL is not well documented in Tanzania, thus limiting the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies.
A prospective unmatched, case-control study of HIV-seropositive, ≥ 18 years of age and consenting non-pregnant patients attending the care and treatment center (CTC) at Muhimbili National Hoospital (MNH) as cases was done between 2005 and 2006. HIV seronegative, non-pregnant and consenting women recruited from the Cervical Cancer Screening unit (CCSU) at ORCI were used as controls while those who did not consent to study participation and/or individuals under < 18 years were excluded. Pap smears were collected for routine cytodiagnosis and P53 immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cervical lesions were classified according to the Modified Bethesda System.
A total of 170 participants from the two centers were recruited including 50 HIV-seronegative controls were from the CCSU. Ages ranged from 20-66 years (mean 40.5 years) for cases and 20-69 years (mean 41.6 years) for controls. The age group 36-45 years was the most affected by HIV (39.2%, n = 47). Cervicitis, squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) and carcinoma constituted 28.3% (n = 34), 38.3% (n = 46) and 5.8% (n = 7) respectively among cases, and 28% (n = 14), 34% (n = 17) and 2% (n = 1) for controls, although this was not statistically significant (P-value = 0.61). IHC showed that p53 was not detectable in HPV + Pap smears and cell blocks indicating possible degradation.
The frequency of SIL and carcinoma appeared to be higher among HIV-infected women on HAART compared to seronegative controls and as expected increased with age. HIV seropositive patients appeared to present earlier with SIL compared to those HIV seronegative suggesting a role of HIV in altering the natural history of HPV infection and cervical lesions. The absence of p53 immunoreactivity in HPV + lesions is indicative of the ability of HPV E6 proteins to interact with the tumor suppressor gene and pave way for viral-induced oncogenesis in the studied Tanzanian women.
PMCID: PMC3298791  PMID: 22335893
23.  The SNP at −592 of human IL-10 gene is associated with serum IL-10 levels and increased risk for human papillomavirus cervical lesion development 
Women with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) persistence are characterized by high levels of IL-10 at cervix. We have determined whether polymorphisms of IL-10 gene promoter might be associated with increased risk of squamous intraepithelial cervical lesions (SICL) and whether exist significative differences of IL-10 mRNA expression at cervix and systemic and serum IL-10 protein between SICL cases and non-Cervical Lesions (NCL).
Peripheral blood samples from SICL (n = 204) and NCL (n = 166) were used to detect IL-10 promoter polymorphisms at loci -592A/C (rs1800872), -819C/T (rs1800871), -1082A/G (rs1800896), -1352A/G (rs1800893), by allelic discrimination and to evaluate serum IL-10 protein. Cervical epithelial scrapings from NCL and biopsies from SICLs were used for HPV-typing and to evaluate IL-10 mRNA expression level. The systemic and local IL-10 mRNA expression levels were measured by real time-PCR. Genotypic and allelic frequencies of the selected polymorphisms were analyzed by logistic regression, adjusting by age and HPV-genotype, to determine the association with SICL.
No significant differences were found between genotype frequencies at loci −819, -1082, and −1352. Individuals carrying at least one copy of risk allele A of polymorphism −592 had a two-fold increased risk of developing SICL [adjusted odds ratio (OR), 2.02 (95% CI, 1.26-3.25), p = 0.003], compared to NCL. The IL-10 mRNA expression and serum IL-10 protein, were significantly higher in SICL cases (p < 0.01), being higher in patients carrying the risk allele A.
The −592 polymorphism is associated with increased risk of SICL and can serve as a marker of genetic susceptibility to SICL among Mexican women. According to IL-10 levels found in SICL, IL-10 can be relevant factor for viral persistence and progression disease.
PMCID: PMC3552694  PMID: 23148667
IL-10 promoter polymorphisms; Squamous intraepithelial cervical lesions; IL-10 expression; Risk factors
24.  Methylation-mediated silencing and tumour suppressive function of hsa-miR-124 in cervical cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:167.
A substantial number of microRNAs (miRNAs) is subject to epigenetic silencing in cancer. Although epigenetic silencing of tumour suppressor genes is an important feature of cervical cancer, little is known about epigenetic silencing of miRNAs. Since DNA methylation-based silencing of hsa-miR-124 occurs in various human cancers, we studied the frequency and functional effects of hsa-miR-124 methylation in cervical carcinogenesis.
Quantitative MSP analysis of all 3 loci encoding the mature hsa-miR-124 (hsa-miR-124-1/-2/-3) showed methylation in cervical cancer cell lines SiHa, CaSki and HeLa as well as in late passages of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 or 18 immortalised keratinocytes. Treatment of SiHa cells with a demethylating agent reduced hsa-miR-124 methylation levels and induced hsa-miR-124 expression. In HPV-immortalised keratinocytes increased methylation levels were related to reduced hsa-miR-124 expression and higher mRNA expression of IGFBP7, a potential hsa-miR-124 target gene. Ectopic hsa-miR-124 expression in SiHa and CaSki cells decreased proliferation rates and migratory capacity. Combined hsa-miR-124-1 and/or hsa-miR-124-2 methylation analysis of 139 cervical tissue specimens showed an increasing methylation frequency from 0% in normal tissues up to 93% in cervical carcinomas. Increased methylation levels of hsa-miR-124-1 and hsa-miR-124-2 were significantly correlated with reduced hsa-miR-124 expression in cervical tissue specimens. Combined hsa-miR-124-1 and/or hsa-miR-124-2 methylation analysis of 43 cervical scrapes of high-risk HPV positive women was predictive of underlying high-grade lesions.
DNA methylation-based silencing of hsa-miR-124 is functionally involved in cervical carcinogenesis and may provide a valuable marker for improved detection of cervical cancer and its high-grade precursor lesions.
PMCID: PMC2917428  PMID: 20579385
25.  Infection and Cervical Neoplasia: Facts and Fiction 
Whilst there is strong evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV) is the principal aetiological agent in cervical neoplasia, some other sexually transmitted agents may either contribute or protect against cervical carcinogenesis, such as the herpes virus family (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Chlamydia trachomatis (CT). Epidemiological studies suggest that HSV may have a role in cervical neoplasia, but there is no clear supportive experimental evidence. Serological studies have also failed to reveal a difference in the prevalence of antibodies to CMV and EBV between patients with cervical cancer and controls. However, longitudinal seroepidemiological studies have provided evidence that CT is an independent risk factor for the development of cervical squamous carcinoma and this association is serotype specific. The increased risk of cervical neoplasia in patients infected with HIV has been recognised for over a decade and HIV may interact with HPV either by alternating HPV gene transcription or by immunosuppression. Finally extensive experimental and limited epidemiological evidence suggests that adeno-associated viruses (AAV) may have antioncogenic activity in man and may protect against the development of cervical cancer. At present the mechanism of this action is unclear but may relate to AAV-induced regulation of HPV gene expression and the HPV life cycle. In this review we summarize the current literature relating to the associations and mechanisms of cervical carcinogenesis by each of these infectious microorganisms.
PMCID: PMC2491386  PMID: 18830380
Human papillomavirus (HPV); cervical neoplasia; sexually transmitted infections (STI); microbiology

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