Objectives: The aim of the present study was to determine the presence and expression of the 60-kD heat shock protein (HSP60) in the dysplasia-carcinoma sequence in the uterine exocervix and to evaluate its diagnostic and prognostic significance.
Methods and results: We performed Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses on biopsies from 40 cases, consisting of 10 normal exocervical biopsies, 10 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (L-SIL), 10 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (H-SIL) and 10 cancerous exocervices (G2 grade). The immunohistochemical results were quantified by computer-assisted image analysis. Western blot analysis showed that HSP60 was undetectable in normal tissues and that there was a gradual increase of protein expression from L-SIL to carcinoma. Immunostaining for HSP60 was negative in normal tissue and positive in basal and parabasal layers of L-SIL epithelium; H-SIL were markedly stained in all layers of epithelium, and carcinomas showed an even stronger positivity. The increasing expression correlated with the malignancy grade. Finally, koilocytes were mostly negative in L-SIL and positive in H-SIL.
Conclusions: The increasing degree of expression of HSP60 from L-SIL to carcinoma and the different intraepithelial distribution between L-SIL and H-SIL could be used as a new diagnostic tool. Moreover, HSP60 could have a role in cervical carcinogenesis.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel