More Than 700 Genes Linked to Prognosis in Cervical Cancer

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Figure 1. Immunohistochemical staining of LPCAT1 shows high (left) and low (right) expression in cervical cancer samples.
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Figure 2. Immunohistochemical staining of MCM5 shows high (left) and low (right) expression in cervical cancer samples.

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer type in women worldwide. Screening programs have contributed to decreased mortality, however, cervical cancer remains a major cause of cancer-related death among women in countries with limited access to screening. By using a systems level approach to analyze the cervical cancer proteome based on clinical metadata and genome-wide transcriptomics data, 724 genes were found to be associated with prognostic outcome.

Cervical cancers typically arise in the squamous epithelium of the cervix and progress slowly, over a period of months and years. Early detection contributes largely to favorable prognostic outcome. Early stages of precancerous lesions are easily treatable and prevent about 80% of cervical cancers in countries with screening programs. Treatment options are far more limited for cases identified by symptoms that develop in more advanced disease. Cervical cancer is caused by two sexually transmitted strains of human papillomavirus that infect humans with exceeding prevalence. There is approved vaccine for prevention of human papilloma infection.

The analysis of prognostic genes in cervical cancer was based on publicly available gene expression data and clinical metadata from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), consisting of 291 patients. According to the analysis, 724 genes were associated with prognostic outcome, out of which 223 genes were associated with unfavorable prognosis and 501 genes with favorable prognosis.

Lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1, LPCAT1, is shown to be associated with unfavorable prognosis in patients with cervical cancer. The enzyme encoded by this gene is involved in phospholipid metabolism and regulation of lipid droplet production. Over-expression of this gene may promote development of different cancer type including of oral squamous cell and gastric cancer. Immunohistochemical staining of LPCAT1 shows differential cytoplasmic expression in cervical cancer samples (Figure 1).

A gene associated with favorable prognosis are minichromosome maintenance complex component 5, MCM5. It encodes a chromosome-binding protein, suggested to be a component of a replicative helicase crucial for initiation of DNA replication and DNA elongation. Immunohistochemical staining of MCM5 shows varying nuclear expression in cervical cancer samples (Figure 2).

Explore the Cervical Cancer Proteome and search for your gene of interest in our Pathology Atlas!

References and links

Uhlén M et al, 2017. A pathology atlas of the human cancer transcriptome. Science. PubMed: 28818916

DOI 10.1126/science.aan2507

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