‘Drawing’ a Molecular Portrait of CIN and Cervical Cancer: a Review of Genome-Wide Molecular Profiling Data


In this review we summarize the results of studies employing high-throughput methods of profiling ofHPV-associated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and squamous cell cervical cancers at key intracellularregulatory levels to demonstrate the unique identity of the landscape of molecular changes underlying thisoncopathology, and to show how these changes are related to the ‘natural history’ of cervical cancer progressionand the formation of clinically significant properties of tumors. A step-wise character of cervical cancer progressionis a morphologically well-described fact and, as evidenced by genome-wide screenings, it is indeed the consistentchange of the molecular profiles of HPV-infected epithelial cells through which they progressively acquire thephenotypic hallmarks of cancerous cells. In this sense, CIN/cervical cancer is a unique model for studying thedriving forces and mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Recent research has allowed definition of the whole-genomespectrum of both random and regular molecular alterations, as well as changes either common to processes ofcarcinogenesis or specific for cervical cancer. Despite the existence of questions that are still to be investigated,these findings are of great value for the future development of approaches for the diagnostics and treatment ofcervical neoplasms.