To study the molecular abnormalities involved in the multistage development of cervical carcinoma (CC), we investigated the presence of oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) sequences, loss of heterozygosity (LOH), and microsatellite alterations at several genes/loci at 3p (3p14.2 at the FHIT gene, 3p14.3–21.1, 3p21, and 3p22–24.2), 9p21, RB and P53, and P53 gene point mutations in precisely microdissected archival tissues from 20 CCs and their accompanying precursor lesions (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, CIN; n = 40) and normal epithelia (n = 20). In all HPV-positive cases (90% of CCs), HPV sequences were detected as the earliest appearing molecular change or simultaneously with other changes. LOH at any 3p region was found in 70% of CCs, and 3p14.2 (FHIT gene/FRA3B fragile site) (56%) and 3p21 (57%) were the most frequent 3p sites of loss. LOH at some 3p region was in the CIN I stage, and the 3p deletions in precursor CIN lesions were smaller than the 3p losses found in the associated invasive CC. LOH at the other regions studied and P53 gene mutations were less frequent and later events. Microsatellite alterations were detected in 35% of CCs, and identical abnormalities were detected in the associated precursor lesions. Although infection with oncogenic HPV strains is the earliest and most frequent molecular event, progressive deletions at one or more 3p regions (particularly at 3p14.2, and 3p21) are also frequent events occurring early in the pathogenesis of CC.


Supported by a Texas ARP Grant (to J. D. M.).

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