Cervical cancer, the second most common cancer amongst women worldwide, is frequently associated with specific human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Despite this association, only a small proportion of HPV-infected women develop cervical cancer. These clinical and epidemiological observations have led to a search for genetic and/or epigenetic processes (in the virus and/or host) that interact with HPV infection in tumor development.
 We have previously identified a set of microRNAs (miRNAs) with differential expression in cervical cancer cells and a number of other small RNAs which so far appear specific to cervical cancer cells. To further evaluate the significance of these findings, we are determining and comparing small RNA expression profiles in an extensive set of matched cervical cancer and normal cervical samples using ultra high throughput sequencing technology and other approaches. We anticipate that the comprehensive small RNA profiles and functional assays for their significance will provide (1) insight into the roles of miRNAs in cervical cancer development, and (2) critical tests for the potential value of miRNA profiles as contributory diagnostic/prognostic markers for this tumor type.

First AACR Centennial Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine-- Nov 4-8, 2007; Singapore