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Pathobiology. 2002-2003;70(2):83-8.

Expression of 60-kD heat shock protein increases during carcinogenesis in the uterine exocervix.

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Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.



The aim of the present study was to determine the presence and expression of the 60-kD heat shock protein (HSP60) in the dysplasia-carcinoma sequence in the uterine exocervix and to evaluate its diagnostic and prognostic significance.


We performed Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses on biopsies from 40 cases, consisting of 10 normal exocervical biopsies, 10 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (L-SIL), 10 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (H-SIL) and 10 cancerous exocervices (G2 grade). The immunohistochemical results were quantified by computer-assisted image analysis. Western blot analysis showed that HSP60 was undetectable in normal tissues and that there was a gradual increase of protein expression from L-SIL to carcinoma. Immunostaining for HSP60 was negative in normal tissue and positive in basal and parabasal layers of L-SIL epithelium; H-SIL were markedly stained in all layers of epithelium, and carcinomas showed an even stronger positivity. The increasing expression correlated with the malignancy grade. Finally, koilocytes were mostly negative in L-SIL and positive in H-SIL.


The increasing degree of expression of HSP60 from L-SIL to carcinoma and the different intraepithelial distribution between L-SIL and H-SIL could be used as a new diagnostic tool. Moreover, HSP60 could have a role in cervical carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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