Significance of DNA Replication Licensing Proteins (MCM2, MCM5 and CDC6), p16 and p63 as Markers of Premalignant Lesions of the Uterine Cervix: Its Usefulness to Predict Malignant Potential

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Division of Cancer Research, Regional Cancer Centre,Trivandrum, Kerla, India.

2 Division of Pathology, Regional Cancer Centre,Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

3 Division of Clinical Epidemology, Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, Kerla, India.

4 Medical College, Medical College PO, Trivandrum, Kerla, India.


Cervical cancer continues to be a leading cancer among women in many parts of the world. Nation-wide screening with the Pap smear has not been implemented in India due to the lack of adequately trained cytologists. Identification of biomarkers to predict malignant potential of the identified low risk lesions is essential to avoid excessive retesting and follow up. The current study analyzed the expression patterns of DNA replication licensing proteins, proliferation inhibitor protein p16INK4A and tumor suppresser protein p63 in cervical tissues and smears to assess the ability of these proteins to predict progression. Methods: Cervical smears and corresponding tissues were immunostained using mouse monoclonal antibodies against MCM2, MCM5, CDC6, p16 and p63. Smears were treated with a non-ionic surfactant sodium deoxycholate prior to immuno-cytochemistry. The standard ABC method of immunohistochemistry was performed using DAB as the chromogen. The immunostained samples were scored on a 0-3+ scale and staining patterns of smears were compared with those of tissue sections. Sensitivity and specificity for each of these markers were calculated taking histopathology as the gold standard. Result: All the markers were positive in malignant and dysplastic cells. MCM protein expression was found to be up-regulated in LSIL, HSIL and in malignancies to a greater extent than p16 as well as p63. CDC6 protein was preferentially expressed in high grade lesions and in invasive squamous cell carcinomas. A progressive increase in the expression of DNA replication licensing proteins in accordance with the grades of cervical intraepithelial lesion suggests these markers as significant to predict malignant potential of low grade lesions in cervical smears. Conclusion: MCMs and CDC6 can be applied as biomarkers to predict malignant potential of low grade lesions identified in screening programmes and retesting


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