Objective: To determine whether squamous cervical cancers exhibit mutations or deletions in MHC class I genes or transport-associated protein (TAP) genes.
Methods: Polymerase chain reaction based protocols were used to examine HLA class I and TAP genes in a panel of cervical tumours, using DNA from corresponding blood samples as controls. SSP-PCR protocols were similarly used for examination of all TAP alleles in tumour and blood samples.
Results: In a series of cervical carcinomas, 7 of 27 (26%) exhibited mutations in HLA-A genes, while 12 of 23 (52%) exhibited mutations in TAP genes. HLA gene mutations were detected in 2 of 14 CIN2-3 lesions, and TAP gene mutations in none of 14, a frequency significantly less than observed in the cervical carcinoma samples (P<0.01). The TAP 2A/2B heterozygous genotype was observed with increased frequency in patients with cervical cancer compared to population controls (P<0.02).
Conclusion: These data suggest that TAP genes may be relevant to evolution of cervical cancer from precursor lesions.