Genetic alterations during the progression of squamous cell carcinomas of the uterine cervix

Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 1999 Dec;26(4):346-54. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2264(199912)26:4<346::aid-gcc9>;2-d.


Most cervical carcinomas appear to arise from cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) lesions. In addition to infection with high-risk human papilloma viruses, which is indicative of an increased risk of progression, alterations of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes play a role. Genetic studies of CIN lesions, primary cervical carcinoma, and metastases may shed light on the relative importance of various genetic alterations involved in the progression of CIN to invasive carcinoma. We examined tumor material from 10 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix and synchronous CIN lesions and lymph node metastases. The CIN component, invasive carcinoma, and lymph node metastases were analyzed separately for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on the following loci: VHL (3p21), HLA region (6p22-23), PGL (11q 22-24), E6 associated protein (15q11-13), TP53 (17p13), DCC (18q21.1), and chromosomes 1, 2, 4, 9, 20, and X. Using immunohistochemistry, the expression of the EGF receptor, ERBB2, and TP53 was determined. In CIN lesions, frequent LOH was found at chromosome arms 3p, 6p, and 11q. Primary invasive carcinoma showed additional LOH at chromosome arms 6q, 17p, and 18q. In lymph node metastases, an additional locus on the X chromosome displayed LOH. All carcinomas and synchronous lesions but one showed high expression levels of the EGF receptor. TP53 staining, when present, was found in all synchronous lesions. Focal staining of ERBB2 was found in one CIN lesion, two invasive carcinomas, and four metastases. The molecular alterations accumulated in a fashion that paralleled the progression of the tumors. These results indicate that cervical tumorigenesis occurs in a stepwise fashion, including infection and integration of oncogenic HPV and several specific genetic alterations. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 26:346-354, 1999.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Disease Progression
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • ErbB Receptors / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncogene Proteins v-erbB / analysis
  • Oncogene Proteins v-erbB / biosynthesis
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Oncogene Proteins v-erbB
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ErbB Receptors