Features of the cervicovaginal microenvironment drive cancer biomarker signatures in patients across cervical carcinogenesis

Paweł Łaniewski, Haiyan Cui, Denise Roe, Dominique Barnes, Alison Goulder, Bradley J. Monk, David L. Greenspan, Dana M. Chase, Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz

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Abstract

Persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the vital factor driving cervical carcinogenesis; however, other features of the local cervicovaginal microenvironment (CVM) may play a critical role in development of precancerous cervical dysplasia and progression to invasive cervical carcinoma (ICC). Here we investigated relationships between locally secreted cancer biomarkers and features of the local CVM to better understand the complex interplay between host, virus and vaginal microbiota (VMB). We enrolled women with ICC, high- and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, as well as, HPV-positive and healthy HPV-negative controls. A broad range of cancer biomarkers was present in the local CVM and specifically elevated in ICC patients. The majority of cancer biomarkers were positively correlated to other biomarkers and linked to genital inflammation. Several cancer biomarkers were also negatively correlated to Lactobacillus abundance and positively correlated with abnormal vaginal pH. Finally, a hierarchical clustering analysis of cancer biomarkers and immune mediators revealed three patient clusters, which varied in levels of cancer biomarkers, genital inflammation, vaginal pH and VMB composition. Specific cancer biomarkers discriminated patients with features of the CVM, such as high genital inflammation, elevated vaginal pH and dysbiotic non-Lactobacillus-dominant VMB, that have been associated with HPV persistence, dysplasia and progression to ICC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7333
JournalScientific reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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