Clonal analysis of high-grade squamous intra-epithelial lesions of the uterine cervix

Int J Cancer. 1997 Nov 4;73(3):339-44. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19971104)73:3<339::aid-ijc6>;2-0.


We previously reported that invasive squamous cell carcinomas of the uterine cervix are of monoclonal composition. In the current study, we extended our previous work to determine the clonal composition of cases of high-grade squamous intra-epithelial lesion (HSIL). Clonal analysis targeting the HUMARA locus was performed on cervical tissue from 9 cases, 8 showing heterozygosity at the HUMARA locus and being, therefore, informative for clonality analysis. Uterine cervices were cut into 12 blocks, fixed with formalin and embedded in paraffin, and DNA was extracted from targeted lesions of each block. A total of 30 samples of cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia 3 (CIN3) (14 samples of carcinoma in situ and 16 samples of severe dysplasia) and 1 sample of CIN2 (moderate dysplasia) were analyzed. Monoclonal composition of the lesions was demonstrated in 30/30 cases of CIN3. Polyclonal composition was seen in the single case of CIN2. In 6 uterine cervices, in which dysplastic lesions were present in more than 3 blocks, the pattern of X-chromosome inactivation was the same in all lesions, suggesting that these individual lesions were derived from a single cell, with intraepithelial extension within the cervical mucosa. By contrast, one uterus contained 2 discontinuous dysplastic foci with different patterns of X-chromosome inactivation, indicating that the 2 lesions developed independently from each other. Our results demonstrate that (i) lesions of CIN3 (severe dysplasia and carcinoma in situ) are composed of a clonal neoplastic population of cells and (ii) most cases of HSIL are unifocal in origin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma in Situ / genetics*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / virology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology


  • DNA, Viral
  • Receptors, Androgen