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Mol Cancer. 2010 Oct 27;9:282. doi: 10.1186/1476-4598-9-282.

Aberrant expression and constitutive activation of STAT3 in cervical carcinogenesis: implications in high-risk human papillomavirus infection.

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Division of Molecular Oncology, Institute of Cytology & Preventive Oncology, I-7, Sector-39, NOIDA, U.P., India.



Recent observations indicate potential role of transcription factor STAT3 in cervical cancer development but its role specifically with respect to HPV infection is not known. Present study has been designed to investigate expression and activation of STAT3 in cervical precancer and cancer in relation to HPV infection during cervical carcinogenesis. Established cervical cancer cell lines and prospectively-collected cervical precancer and cancer tissues were analyzed for the HPV positivity and evaluated for STAT3 expression and its phosphorylation by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry whereas STAT3-specific DNA binding activity was examined by gel-shift assays.


Analysis of 120 tissues from cervical precancer and cancer lesions or from normal cervix revealed differentially high levels of constitutively active STAT3 in cervical precancer and cancer lesions, whereas it was absent in normal controls. Similarly, a high level of constitutively active STAT3 expression was observed in HPV-positive cervical cancer cell lines when compared to that of HPV-negative cells. Expression and activity of STAT3 were found to change as a function of severity of cervical lesions from precancer to cancer. Expression of active pSTAT3 was specifically high in cervical precancer and cancer lesions found positive for HPV16. Interestingly, site-specific accumulation of STAT3 was observed in basal and suprabasal layers of HPV16-positive early precancer lesions which is indicative of possible involvement of STAT3 in establishment of HPV infection. In HPV16-positive cases, STAT3 expression and activity were distinctively higher in poorly-differentiated lesions with advanced histopathological grades.


We demonstrate that in the presence of HPV16, STAT3 is aberrantly-expressed and constitutively-activated in cervical cancer which increases as the lesion progresses thus indicating its potential role in progression of HPV16-mediated cervical carcinogenesis.

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