Modern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc

Keratin 17 in premalignant and malignant squamous lesions of the cervix: proteomic discovery and immunohistochemical validation as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker.

PMID 24051697


Most previously described immunohistochemical markers of cervical high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) and squamous cell carcinoma may help to improve diagnostic accuracy but have a minimal prognostic value. The goals of the current study were to identify and validate novel candidate biomarkers that could potentially improve diagnostic and prognostic accuracy for cervical HSIL and squamous cell carcinoma. Microdissected tissue sections from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded normal ectocervical squamous mucosa, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), HSIL and squamous cell carcinoma sections were analyzed by mass spectrometry-based shotgun proteomics for biomarker discovery. The diagnostic specificity of candidate biomarkers was subsequently evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis of tissue microarrays. Among 1750 proteins identified by proteomic analyses, keratin 4 (KRT4) and keratin 17 (KRT17) showed reciprocal patterns of expression in the spectrum of cases ranging from normal ectocervical squamous mucosa to squamous cell carcinoma. Immunohistochemical studies confirmed that KRT4 expression was significantly decreased in squamous cell carcinoma compared with the other diagnostic categories. By contrast, KRT17 expression was significantly increased in HSIL and squamous cell carcinoma compared with normal ectocervical squamous mucosa and LSIL. KRT17 was also highly expressed in immature squamous metaplasia and in endocervical reserve cells but was generally not detected in mature squamous metaplasia. Furthermore, high levels of KRT17 expression were significantly associated with poor survival of squamous cell carcinoma patients (Hazard ratio=14.76, P=0.01). In summary, both KRT4 and KRT17 expressions are related to the histopathology of the cervical squamous mucosa; KRT17 is highly overexpressed in immature squamous metaplasia, in HSIL, and in squamous cell carcinoma and the level of KRT17 in squamous cell carcinoma may help to identify patients who are at greatest risk for cervical cancer mortality.

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