Investigation of putative progression markers in dysplasia of the uterine cervix
The aim of this study was to investigate putative progression markers in cells from normal and dyskariotic cervical smears. Specifically, the pattern of cytokeratin expression in normal and abnormal cervical cells was investigated using well characterised monoclonal antibodies, and the role and prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in the cervix was determined using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Cytospin prepared from cells from normal cervical smears were stained using the APAAP method with monoclonal antibodies to specific cytokeratins. No meaningful results were obtained, and the pattern of expression of cytokeratins within cells from smears found to be normal and satisfactory could not be determined. No investigations of abnormal smears was undertaken. DNA was extracted from cells obtained from cervical smears and assayed by PCR of the presence of EBV. Overall the prevalence of EBV in the adult uterine cervix in the NE of Scotland was determined to be 42.8%. A total of 200/467 patient samples, investigated for the presence of EBV, were positive. Of these 98/235 (41.7%) were Control patients, 59/151 (39.1%) were Birthright patients, and 43/81 (53%) were Colposcopy patients. When the 98/235 (41.7%) Normal (Control group) and 102/232 (43.9%) Abnormal (Birthright and Colposcopy group) patients were compared, no significant differences (p=0.05) were observed in positivity to EBV. These results would seem to preclude a primary role in carcingenesis for Epstein-Barr virus, but does not exclude its role as a promoting agent for further events leading to carcinoma of the cervix.