Background: Seprase is a membrane-bound serine proteinase with gelatinase activity, which may be involved in cancer invasion and metastasis.
Patients and methods: We examined the seprase expression patterns in invasive or preinvasive squamous epithelial lesions.
Results and conclusion: No seprase immunoreactivity was found in the atypical epithelial cells and subepithelial stromal cells of CIN1 and 2 lesions. No seprase expression could be detected even in CIN3 lesions. However, in contrast to CIN1 and 2, seprase immunoreactivity was occasionally observed in the subepithelial stromal cells that were associated with moderate or severe inflammatory infiltrates. Some microinvasive carcinomas and all invasive carcinomas showed seprase immunoreactivity in the cancer cells with various degrees of seprase-positive stromal cells. Seprase may be an early marker of tumor invasion in squamous lesions of the uterine cervix.