, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 707-714
Date: 18 May 2013

p16INK4a Immunoprofiles of Squamous Lesions of the Uterine Cervix–Implications for the Reclassification of Atypical Immature Squamous Metaplasia

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Abstract

p16INK4a immunoprofiles of non-precancerous and dysplastic squamous cervical lesions were defined and applied to the reclassification of atypical immature squamous metaplasia (AIM). The immunoexpression of cytokeratin 17 (CK 17) in AIM was also evaluated. Totally, 295 cervical cone biopsies representing squamous metaplasia, reactive changes, koilocytosis, flat condyloma, CIN I, CIN II, CIN III and AIM were subjected to p16INK4a immunohistochemistry. AIM cases were analyzed using CK 17 antibody. Typical p16INK4a immunoprofiles for the metaplastic, LSIL/HPV and HSIL phenotypes were recorded and used for the categorization of AIM into particular phenotype groups. Results were correlated with CK 17 immunoexpression. All CIN II and CIN III lesions, all but one case of CIN I and all flat condylomas overexpressed p16INK4a. Other non-precancerous lesions, including koilocytosis, were predominantly negative. Contrary to the sporadic and focal immunostaining, diffuse positivity was associated with the dysplastic features of the lesion. CIN II and CIN III were characterized by a diffuse, strong/weak, full-thickness staining, whereas CIN I showed a heterogeneous diffuse/focal, weak/strong, lower half positivity. One third of AIM lesions may be reclassified as HSIL, one third as LSIL/HPV and one third shows metaplastic phenotype. All AIM cases with metaplastic and LSIL/HPV phenotypes expressed CK 17 diffusely, whereas focal positivity slightly prevailed in AIM with HSIL phenotype. We conclude that p16INK4a immunohistochemistry is a supporting method for the differential diagnosis of cervical lesions, which may be especially useful for the reclassification of AIM. The efficacy of CK 17 immunohistochemistry seems to be controversial for these purposes.