Background: γH2AX is a protein biomarker for double-stranded DNA breakage; its expression was studied in cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions and carcinomas. Methods: Immunostaining for phospho-γH2AX was performed in sections from histologically confirmed cervical SIL and carcinomas, as well as from normal cervices used as controls. In total, 275 cases were included in the study: 112 low grade SIL (LGSIL), 99 high grade SIL (HGSIL), 24 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 12 adenocarcinoma and 28 cervical specimens with no essential lesions. Correlation of histological grading, high risk vs. low risk HPV virus presence, activated vs. non-activated status (by high risk HPV mRNA expression) and γH2AX expression in both basal and surface segments of the squamous epithelium was performed. Results: Gradual increase of both basal and surface γH2AX expression was noted up from normal cervices to LGSIL harboring a low risk HPV type, to LGSIL harboring a high risk virus at a non-activated state (p<0.05). Thereafter, both basal and surface γH2AX expression dropped in LGSIL harboring a high risk virus at an activated state and in HGSIL. Conclusions: γH2AX could serve as a potential biomarker discriminating between LGSIL and HGSIL, as well as between LGSIL harboring high risk HPV at an activated state.
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