Biology (Jun 2022)

The Role of p16/Ki-67 Immunostaining, hTERC Amplification and Fibronectin in Predicting Cervical Cancer Progression: A Systematic Review

  • Septimiu Toader Voidăzan,
  • Caterina Dianzani,
  • Mădălina Aurelia Husariu,
  • Bíborka Geréd,
  • Sabin Gligore Turdean,
  • Cosmina Cristina Uzun,
  • Zsolt Kovacs,
  • Florin Francisc Rozsnyai,
  • Nicoleta Neagu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 7
p. 956


Read online

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are common sexually transmitted infectious agents responsible for several anogenital and head and neck cancers. Cervical cancer (CC) is the fourth leading cause of death in women with cancer. The progression of a persistent HPV infection to cancer takes 15–20 years and can be preventable through screening. Cervical cytology (Pap smear) is the standard screening test for CC and precancerous lesions. For ASC-US and ASC-H lesions, a combination of Pap smear and HR-HPV analysis is recommended as a triage step before colposcopy. However, these tests cannot predict progression to CC. For this purpose, we summarized current scientific data on the role of p16/Ki-67 immunohistostaining, telomerase and fibronectin in predicting progression to CC. p16 and p16/Ki-67 dual staining (DS) were more specific than HR-HPV DNA testing for the detection of CIN2+/CIN3+ in women with ASC-US and LSIL. Similarly, hTERC FISH analysis significantly improved the specificity and positive predictive value of HPV DNA testing in differentiating CIN2+ from CIN2 cytological samples. In conclusion, p16 IHC, p16/Ki-67 DS and hTERC FISH amplification are all valid adjunctive biomarkers which significantly increase the sensitivity and specificity of cervical dysplasia diagnosis, especially when combined with HPV DNA testing. However, considering the global socioeconomic background, we can postulate that p16 and p16/ Ki-67 IHC can be used as a next step after positive cytology for ASC-US or LSIL specimens in low-income countries, instead of HPV DNA testing. Alternatively, if HPV DNA testing is covered by insurance, p16 or p16/Ki-67 DS and HPV DNA co-testing can be performed. In middle- and high-income countries, hTERC amplification can be performed as an adjunctive test to HPV DNA testing in women with ASC-US and LSIL.