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Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Oct;102(4):774-81.

Cervical cancer and microchimerism.

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Division of Genetics, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.



To determine whether microchimerism is involved in the pathogenesis or progression of cervical cancer.


Cervical tissue was obtained from eight women who had at least one live-born son and who underwent radical hysterectomy after a diagnosis of cervical cancer. Control tissue was obtained from four women without cervical cancer who had at least one live-born son and from three women with cervical cancer and no male births. Tissue sections were analyzed with fluorescence in situ hybridization for the presence of fetal cells, defined by an X and Y chromosome. Immunolabeling was used to determine the phenotype of the presumed fetal cells.


Male cells were found in cervical tissue from all four patients for whom large sections (approximately 1.5 x 2 cm) were analyzed. Only one male cell was found in two of the four patients for whom small biopsy specimens (approximately 0.1 x 0.5 cm) were analyzed. No male cells were found in tissue specimens from controls, whether they were small or large sections. In immunolabeling studies, eight of 18 male cells from one patient were CD45-positive and nine of 37 male cells from two patients were cytokeratin-positive. No cells were positive for both markers.


Cervical cancer might be associated with microchimerism, possibly from fetomaternal cell trafficking. These results further expand the potential relationship between microchimerism and disease in women.

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