p16 as a diagnostic marker of cervical neoplasia: a tissue microarray study of 796 archival specimens
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Diagnostic Pathology 2009, 4:22 doi:10.1186/1746-1596-4-22Published: 9 July 2009
To evaluate the usefulness of this biomarker in the diagnosis of cases of cervical neoplasia we studied the immunohistochemical expression of p16INK4a in a large series of archival cervical biopsies arranged into tissue microarray format.
TMAs were constructed with tissue cores from archival formalin fixed, paraffin-embedded donor tissues from 796 patients, and included cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)1 (n = 249), CIN2 (n = 233), CIN3 (n = 181), and invasive cervical carcinoma (n = 133). p16INK4a expression was scored using two different protocols: 1) positive vs negative p16INK4a staining; 2) a semi-quantitative immunohistochemical score (0 to 8 points) according to the intensity of staining and the proportion of stained cells
p16INK4A expression was not seen in normal cervix tissue, but was found with increasing frequency in the sequence: CIN1 (180/249; 72.3%) – CIN2 (212/233; 91.0%) – CIN3 (178/181; 98.3%) – invasive carcinoma (131/133; 98.5%). Using semi-quantitative scoring, all normal cervical samples had low scores (from 0 to 2 points), whilst the number of specimens with high scores was proportional to the degree of cervical dysplasia or the presence of invasive carcinoma.
Immunohistochemical analysis of p16INK4a expression is a useful diagnostic tool. Expression is related to the degree of histological dysplasia, suggesting that it may have prognostic and predicative value in the management of cervical neoplasia.