Background: Image cytometry has provided two highly sensitive markers for the identification of the malignant potential of squamous lesions. Aneuploidy and chromatin texture have been investigated as quantitative measures of nuclear damage in premalignant lesions and carcinoma. Real-time PCR methods have evolved to yield highly specific measurements of mRNA expression in very sparse cellular samples.
Methods: Human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 and 18 E7 mRNA expression was measured using quantitative RT-PCR. DNA index and chromatin measures were taken from image cytology samples. The chromatin features, through discriminant analysis, were aggregated into a score, and both measurements were related to mRNA expression.
Results: mRNA level and DNA index show an increasing trend over increasing histological grades. However, DNA index and chromatin score were not correlated to mRNA levels in these samples. Chromatin score differed by mRNA type found with HPV 18 infected samples having a higher score than those with HPV 16. Samples infected with HPV 16 and HPV 18 had even higher chromatin scores.
Conclusions: DNA index and chromatin score were not directly correlated with mRNA levels. However both mRNA and DNA index were related to histological grade, and chromatin score was associated with HPV type. Therefore, DNA index and mRNA levels could be independent predictors of cervical dysplasia, and chromatin score could be related to the viral integration process in cells infected with HPV 18 or dual infections.
Copyright 2007 Clinical Cytometry Society.