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Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2017 May;27(4):784-790. doi: 10.1097/IGC.0000000000000957.

Placenta-Specific Protein 1 Expression in Human Papillomavirus 16/18-Positive Cervical Cancers Is Associated With Tumor Histology.

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*Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine; †Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City; ‡Des Moines University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Des Moines; §Department of Biology, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania; and ∥Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA.



Expression of the trophoblast-specific gene placenta-specific protein 1 (PLAC1) has been detected in a wide variety of cancers. However, to date, PLAC1 expression has not been shown in cervical cancer. We have carried out a preliminary study that shows for the first time that PLAC1 is expressed in cervical cancers.


A total of 16 primary cervical tumors were obtained from patients shown to be human papillomavirus (HPV) 16/18 positive. Total cellular RNA, genomic DNA, and total protein were purified from each tumor. These materials were then used to determine PLAC1 expression, TP53 mutation status, and p53 expression.


The PLAC1 expression was demonstrated in all 16 primary cervical tumors. The highest levels of expression were found in the more aggressive squamous and adenosquamous histologic types compared with adenocarcinomas. Moreover, the proportion of total PLAC1 message coming from the P1 promoter, also termed the distal or cancer promoter, was significantly greater in the more aggressive squamous and adenosquamous histologic types compared with adenocarcinomas. Finally, in spite of all 16 tumors being HPV-16/18 positive, 3 of 8 squamous cell cancers and 2 of 5 adenocarcinomas expressed wild-type p53 protein. Consistent with the recently shown suppression of the PLAC1P1 promoter by wild-type p53, these p53 positive tumors displayed among the lowest P1-specific PLAC1 expression levels.


The PLAC1 expression has been demonstrated for the first time in cervical cancers. This preliminary study has further revealed a complex relationship between PLAC1 expression, cervical cancer histologic type, p53, and HPV type that requires further investigation.

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