Expression Profile of MicroRNA-203 and its ΔNp63 Target in Cervical Carcinogenesis: Prospects for Cervical Cancer Screening

Anticancer Res. 2016 Aug;36(8):3939-46.


Background/aim: Host molecules disturbed by human papillomavirus (HPV) oncoproteins have been shown to be potential biomarkers of cervical carcinogenesis and represent an alternative or supplementary aid to cytological testing and HPV detection. The miR-203 and one of its targets, ΔNp63, are known to be host molecules that interact with each other to control the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes; both have been found to be dysregulated in many cancers. As the role of p63 and miR-203 in cervical carcinogenesis is not yet well-understood, we have, thus, decided to evaluate the changes of expression of both in cervical carcinogenesis.

Materials and methods: This study was carried out by obtaining quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) data from cervical biopsies.

Results: miR-203 and ΔNp63 displayed a similar expression pattern across cervical tissues and both targets showed statistically significant differences between low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) x high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL); HSIL x Cancer. Additionally, we did not observe an inverse correlation between ΔNp63 mRNA and miR-203 levels as expected but, rather, a positive correlation between cervical tissues.

Conclusion: Although preliminary, the expression levels of ΔNp63 mRNA and miR-203 seem to be promising for cervical cancer screening. In addition, positive correlation between miR-203 and ΔNp63 expression suggests the possible existence of some indirect pathways. However, further studies are needed to clarify the role of ΔNp63 and miR-203 in cervical carcinogenesis and, thus, determine how they can be applied in new strategies for diagnosis.

Keywords: biomarker; cervical carcinogenesis; miR-203; ΔNp63.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Papillomaviridae / pathogenicity
  • Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions of the Cervix / genetics*
  • Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions of the Cervix / pathology
  • Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions of the Cervix / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CKAP4 protein, human
  • MIRN203 microRNA, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • MicroRNAs