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1.  Suitability of self-collected vaginal samples for cervical cancer screening in peri-urban villages in Andhra Pradesh, India 
Objectives:
Our aim was to determine if (1) Hybrid Capture 2 and a PCR-based method were comparable for detection of high-risk HPVs, (2) clinician-collected and self-collected samples were equally efficient to detect HPV and cervical cancer precursor lesions and (3) if participation rates improved with home-based vs. clinic-based self collection.
Methods:
Samples were selected from women participating in a cervical cancer screening study according to human papillomavirus (HPV), visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), or Pap smear screening results. From 432 of 892 selected women, split sample aliquots were tested for HPV DNA using both the Hybrid Capture 2 assay and the Roche prototype line blot assay. Women from a subset of villages were recruited at two separate time points for clinic-based self-collection and home-based self-collection, and participation rates were compared.
Results:
Pairwise agreement between self- and clinician-collected samples was high by both hc2 (90.8% agreement, kappa=0.7) and PCR (92.6% agreement, kappa=0.8), with significantly increased high-risk HPV detection in clinician-collected specimens (McNemar's p<0.01). Ability to detect precursor lesions was highest by PCR testing of clinician-collected samples and lowest by Hybrid Capture 2 testing of self-collected samples (11/11 and 9/11 cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2/3 and cancer detected, respectively). Participation in home-based screening was significantly higher than clinic-based screening (71.5% and 53.8%, respectively; p<0.001) among women 30-45 years old.
Conclusion:
The combination of improved screening coverage and a high single test sensitivity afforded by HPV DNA testing of home-based self-collected swabs may have a greater programmatic impact on cervical cancer mortality reduction compared to programs requiring a pelvic exam.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-1171
PMCID: PMC2762740  PMID: 19423518
2.  Shedding of Epstein-Barr Virus and Cytomegalovirus from the Genital Tract of Women in a Periurban Community in Andhra Pradesh, India ▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(7):2435-2439.
We found a large number of false-positive readings by visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) in a study of cervical cancer screening strategies (VIA, human papillomavirus HPV DNA testing, and Pap cytology) in a periurban community in Andhra Pradesh, India. We evaluated whether these false-positive readings might be occurring as a result of infections with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or cytomegalovirus (CMV), prevalent latent herpesviruses known to be shed from the female genital tract. While we found that there was no association between VIA results and the presence of EBV or CMV in the cervix, we did find a high prevalence of both viruses: 20% for EBV and 26% for CMV. In multivariate analyses, CMV prevalence was associated with younger age, lack of running water in the home, and visually apparent cervical inflammation. EBV prevalence was associated with older age and a diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1 or greater. The biological and clinical implications of these viruses at the cervix remain to be determined. The strong association between the presence of EBV and cervical disease warrants future exploration to determine whether EBV plays a causal role in disease development or if it is merely a bystander in the process.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02206-10
PMCID: PMC3147891  PMID: 21525227
3.  Determinants of VIA (Visual Inspection of the Cervix After Acetic Acid Application) Positivity in Cervical Cancer Screening of Women in a Peri-Urban Area in Andhra Pradesh, India 
Objectives
Visual inspection of the cervix after acetic acid application (VIA) is widely recommended as the method of choice in cervical cancer screening programs in resource-limited settings because of its simplicity and ability to link with immediate treatment. In testing the effectiveness of VIA, human papillomavirus DNA testing, and Pap cytology in a population-based study in a peri-urban area in Andhra Pradesh, India, we found the sensitivity of VIA for detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 and worse (CIN2+) to be 26.3%, much lower than the 60% to 90% reported in the literature. We therefore investigated the determinants of VIA positivity in our study population.
Methods
We evaluated VIA positivity by demographics and reproductive history, results of clinical examination, and results from the other screening methods.
Results
Of the 19 women diagnosed with CIN2+, only 5 were positive by VIA (positive predictive value, 3.1%). In multivariate analysis, VIA positivity (12.74%) was associated with older age, positive Pap smear, visually apparent cervical inflammation, and interobserver variation. Cervical inflammation of unknown cause was present in 21.62% of women. In disease-negative women, cervical inflammation was associated with an increase in VIA positivity from 6.1% to 15.5% (P < 0.001). Among the six gynecologists who performed VIA, the positivity rate varied from 4% to 31%.
Conclusions
The interpretation of VIA is subjective and its performance cannot be readily evaluated against objective standards.
Impact
VIA is not a robust screening test and we caution against its use as the primary screening test in resource-limited regions.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-1282
PMCID: PMC2913449  PMID: 20447927
4.  Indian women with higher serum concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 are significantly less likely to be infected with carcinogenic or high-risk (HR) types of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) 
Background:
Studies conducted in the USA have demonstrated that micronutrients such as folate and vitamin B12 play a significant role in modifying the natural history of high-risk human papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs), the causative agent for developing invasive cervical cancer (CC) and its precursor lesions.
Objective:
The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether these micronutrients have similar effects on HR-HPV infections in Indian women.
Methods:
The associations between serum concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 and HR-HPV infections were evaluated in 724 women who participated in a CC screening study in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Serum folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were measured by using a competitive radio-binding assay. Digene hybrid capture 2 (HC2) assay results were used to categorize women into two groups, positive or negative for HR-HPVs. Unconditional logistic regression models specified a binary indicator of HC2 (positive/negative) as the dependent variable and serum folate concentrations combined with serum vitamin B12 concentrations as the independent predictor of primary interest. Models were fitted, adjusting for age, education, marital status, parity, type of fuel used for cooking and smoking status.
Results:
Women with higher concentrations of serum folate (>6 ng/mL) and vitamin B12 (>356 pg/mL) were at lower risk of being positive for HR-HPVs compared to those with serum folate ≤6 ng/mL and serum vitamin B12 ≤ 356 pg/mL (odds ratio = 0.26; 95% confidence interval: 0.08–0.89; P = 0.03).
Conclusions:
These results demonstrated that improving folate and vitamin B12 status in Indian women may have a beneficial impact on the prevention of CC. Micronutrient based interventions for control of HR-HPV infections may represent feasible alternatives to vaccine based approaches to HPV disease prevention, which are currently unaffordable for use in resource limited areas in rural India.
PMCID: PMC2971743  PMID: 21072292
folate; vitamin B12; human papillomavirus; cervical cancer
5.  DNA Methylation Profile at the DNMT3L Promoter 
Epigenetic events play a prominent role during cancer development. This is evident from the fact that almost all cancer types show aberrant DNA methylation. These abnormal DNA methylation levels are not restricted to just a few genes but affect the whole genome. Previous studies have shown genome-wide DNA hypomethylation and gene-specific hypermethylation to be a hallmark of most cancers. Molecules like DNA methyltransferase act as effectors of epigenetic reprogramming. In the present study we have examined the possibility that the reprogramming genes themselves undergo epigenetic modifications reflecting their changed transcriptional status during cancer development. Comparison of DNA methylation status between the normal and cervical cancer samples was carried out at the promoters of a few reprogramming molecules. Our study revealed statistically significant DNA methylation differences within the promoter of DNMT3L. A regulator of de novo DNA methyltransferases DNMT3A and DNMT3B, DNMT3L promoter was found to have lost DNA methylation to varying levels in 14 out of 15 cancer cervix samples analysed. The present study highlights the importance of DNA methylation profile at DNMT3L promoter not only as a promising biomarker for cervical cancer, which is the second most common cancer among women worldwide, but also provides insight into the possible role of DNMT3L in cancer development.
PMCID: PMC2080824  PMID: 17965599
DNMT3L; DNA methylation; cervical cancer; biomarker; nuclear reprogramming
6.  Prevalence and distribution of high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) types in invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix and in normal women in Andhra Pradesh, India 
Background
Despite the high incidence of cervical cancer reported from India, large scale population based studies on the HPV prevalence and genotype distribution are very few from this region. In view of the clinical trials for HPV vaccine taking place in India, it is of utmost importance to understand the prevalence of HPV genotypes in various geographical regions of India. We investigated the genotype distribution of high-risk HPV types in squamous cell carcinomas and the prevalence of high-risk HPV in cervicovaginal samples in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh (AP), India.
Methods
HPV genotyping was done in cervical cancer specimens (n = 41) obtained from women attending a regional cancer hospital in Hyderabad. HPV-DNA testing was also done in cervicovaginal samples (n = 185) collected from women enrolled in the cervical cancer screening pilot study conducted in the rural community, of Medchal Mandal, twenty kilometers away from Hyderabad.
Results
High-risk HPV types were found in 87.8% (n = 36/41) of the squamous cell carcinomas using a PCR-based line blot assay. Among the HPV positive cancers, the overall type distribution of the major high-risk HPV types was as follows: HPV 16 (66.7%), HPV 18 (19.4%), HPV 33 (5.6%), HPV 35 (5.6%), HPV 45 (5.6%), HPV 52 (2.8%), HPV 58(2.8%), HPV 59(2.8%) and HPV 73 (2.8%). Women participating in the community screening programme provided both a self-collected vaginal swab and a clinician-collected cervical swab for HPV DNA testing. Primary screening for high risk HPV was performed using the Digene Hybrid Capture 2 (hc2) assay. All hc2 positive samples by any one method of collection were further analyzed using the Roche PCR-based line blot for genotype determination. The prevalence of high risk HPV infection in this community-based screening population was 10.3% (19/185) using the clinician-collected and 7.0% (13/185) using the self-collected samples. The overall agreement between self-collected and clinician-collected samples was 92%; however among HPV-positive specimens, the HPV agreement was only moderate (39.1%). The most frequently detected HPV types in the Medchal community are HPV 52 and 16.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that the HPV type distribution in both cervical cancer tissues and in a general screening population from Andhra Pradesh is similar to that reported in India and other parts of the world. We also conclude that an effective vaccine targeting HPV 16 will reduce the cervical cancer burden in AP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-116
PMCID: PMC1345691  PMID: 16371167
7.  Downregulation of calcineurin activity in cervical carcinoma 
Background
Calcineurin (CaN) is an important serine-threonine phosphatase (PP2B), which plays a crucial role in calcium-calmodulin mediated signal transduction events. Calcineurin has been implicated in pathogenesis of various diseases cardiac hypertrophy, diabetic neuropathy and Alzheimer's, however its role in neoplasia remains unclear.
Results
In view of this we evaluated the calcineurin activity in serum and biopsy samples collected from women diagnosed with invasive squamous cell carcinoma of cervix. A significant reduction was observed in the calcineurin activity in cancer cervix patients compared to the control group. However the calcineurin activity remained unaltered in the cervical scrapes obtained from patients diagnosed with low-grade squamous intra epithelial lesions (LSIL). Interestingly the downregulation of calcineurin activity in squamous cell carcinomas was not accompanied by any significant change in DNA-binding affinity of the transcriptional factor NFAT (Nuclear Factor of Activated T-cells). All the squamous cell carcinoma samples used in the present study were positive for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types.
Conclusion
The present study demonstrates the downregulation of calcineurin activity in squamous cell carcinoma of cervix with high risk HPV infection. We conclude that perturbations in calcineurin-mediated pathway may be involved in development of cervical neoplasia.
doi:10.1186/1475-2867-5-7
PMCID: PMC1087859  PMID: 15801986
cervical neoplasia; squamous cell carcinoma (SCC); calcineurin (PP2B/CaN); calmodulin (CaM)

Results 1-7 (7)