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Sensitive molecular detection of small nodal metastasis in uterine cervical cancer using HPV16-E6/CK19/MUC1 cancer biomarkers

Abstract : Metastatic nodal involvement is a critical prognostic factor in uterine cervical cancer (UCC). To improve current methods of detecting UCC metastases in lymph nodes (LNs), we used quantitative PCR (qPCR) to assess mRNA expression of potential metastatic biomarkers. We found that expression of HPV16-E6, cytokeratin19 (CK19), and mucin1 (MUC1) is consistently upregulated in tumors and metastatic tissues, supporting a role for these genes in UCC progression. These putative biomarkers were able to predict the presence of histologically positive metastatic LNs with respective sensitivities and specificities of 82% and 99% (CK19), 76% and 95% (HPV16-E6), and 76% and 78% (MUC1). While the biomarkers failed to detect 1.7% to 2.2% of the histologically positive LNs when used individually, combining CK19 and HPV16-E6 enhanced sensitivity and specificity to 100% and 94%, respectively. To explore the sensitivity of qPCR-based detection of varying proportions of invading HPV16-positive UCC cells, we designed a LN metastasis model that achieved a fresh cell detection limit of 0.008% (1:12500 HPV16-positive to HPV16-negative cells), and a paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed (PEFF) detection limit of 0.02% (1:5000 HPV16-positive to HPV16-negative cells), both of which are within the theoretical detection limit for micrometastasis. Thus, HPV E6/E7 oncogenes may be useful targets for the ultrasensitive detection of nodal involvements like micrometastases in fresh or archived tissue samples. Moreover, our results suggest that the biomarker combination of CK19/HPV-E6 could support a real-time intraoperative strategy for the detection of small, but potentially lethal, metastatic nodal involvements in fresh UCC tissues.
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Vanessa Samouëlian, Nawel Mechtouf, Eric Leblanc, Guillaume Cardin, Valérie Lhotellier, et al.. Sensitive molecular detection of small nodal metastasis in uterine cervical cancer using HPV16-E6/CK19/MUC1 cancer biomarkers. Oncotarget, Impact journals, 2018, 9 (31), pp.21641-21654. ⟨10.18632/oncotarget.24956⟩. ⟨inserm-02940682⟩



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