The impact of the success of organised cervical screening programme results in a steady decline of the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix but a concomitant increase in the incidence of the less common histological subtypes, particularly adenocarcinoma of the cervix (ACC). Although Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is believed to be a necessary cause of cervical cancer, its role in the pathogenesis of ACC is not well established. Established associations between oncogenic strains of HPV and ACC are based on molecular studies carried out on entire tumour block sections. In this study, the cervical adenocarcinoma cells of a 10-year cohort of women diagnosed with ACC were dissected using the PixCell II Laser Microdissecting System to detect the HPV 16 genome sequence using the real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction to confirm the presence of HPV DNA within ACC cells. By coupling these two sophisticated techniques, the HPV DNA copy number cell could be calculated to investigate its role. The prevalence of HPV 16 infection in this cohort was 24%, which is significantly higher than the control group (chi(2), P = 0.014). Women with ACC also had significantly higher HPV DNA copy number per cell compared to the control group (P = 0.00007). Higher HPV DNA copy number is associated with risk of developing ACC.
- real-time PCR
- laser capture microdissection