Molecular profiling of cervical cancer progression

Br J Cancer. 2007 Jan 29;96(2):321-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603543.


Most cancer patients die of metastatic or recurrent disease, hence the importance to identify target genes upregulated in these lesions. Although a variety of gene signatures associated with metastasis or poor prognosis have been identified in various cancer types, it remains a critical problem to identify key genes as candidate therapeutic targets in metastatic or recurrent cancer. The aim of our study was to identify genes consistently upregulated in both lymph node micrometastases and recurrent tumours compared to matched primary tumours in human cervical cancer. Taqman Low-Density Arrays were used to analyse matched tumour samples, obtained after laser-capture microdissection of tumour cell islands for the expression of 96 genes known to be involved in tumour progression. Immunohistochemistry was performed for a panel of up- and downregulated genes. In lymph node micrometastases, most genes were downregulated or showed expressions equal to the levels found in primary tumours. In more than 50% of lymph node micrometastases studied, eight genes (AKT, BCL2, CSFR1, EGFR1, FGF1, MMP3, MMP9 and TGF-beta) were upregulated at least two-fold. Some of these genes (AKT and MMP3) are key regulators of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cancer. In recurrent tumours, almost all genes were upregulated when compared to the expression profiles of the matched primary tumours, possibly reflecting their aggressive biological behaviour. The two genes showing a consistent downregulated expression in almost all lymph node metastases and recurrent tumours were BAX and APC. As treatment strategies are very limited for metastatic and recurrent cervical cancer, the upregulated genes identified in this study are potential targets for new molecular treatment strategies in metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology