Two separate pathways leading to vulvar carcinoma have been suggested. First, a human papillomavirus (HPV)-dependent pathway, in which premalignant stages of vulvar cancer are the classic vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) lesions. Second, an HPV-independent pathway, associated with differentiated VIN III lesions and/or lichen sclerosus. To obtain insight into the mechanisms underlying these pathways, we determined the relationship between HPV DNA and the expression of p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) in non- and (pre)malignant vulvar lesions. Seventy-three archival samples of non- and (pre)neoplastic vulvar lesions were selected and tested for hr-HPV DNA using a broad-spectrum HPV detection/genotyping assay (SPF(10)-LiPA) and the expression of p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A). The prevalence of HPV increased with the severity of the classic VIN lesions; in VIN I no hr-HPV was detected, in VIN II 43%, and in VIN III 71% of the samples were hr-HPV-positive. Roughly the same was true for the expression of p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A). The simultaneous expression of p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) was highly associated with the presence of hr-HPV DNA. Hr-HPV was detected in only a single case of the differentiated VIN III lesions, whereas no expression of p14(ARF) was found and 16(INK4A) was present in only two cases. All 16 samples of vulvar cancer were hr-HPV DNA- negative, although in respectively 63% and 25%, p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) was expressed. No relation was found between hr-HPV and the expression of p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) in the 20 nonneoplastic vulvar lesions. Our results provide further evidence that vulvar squamous cell carcinoma is a multifactorial disease that develops from two different pathways. First, an HPV-dependent pathway with a remarkable resemblance to CIN lesions and cervical carcinoma and second, an HPV-independent pathway in which differentiated VIN III lesions that are hr-HPV-negative may be precursors.
"The second type is typically seen in elderly patients and seems to develop independently from HPV infection. The HPV-independent type of carcinoma is associated with lichen sclerosis and mutations in the TP53 gene, but its etiology is much less well understood than the HPV-positive type  . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Two etiologic pathways of vulvar cancer are known, a human papillomavirus (HPV)- and a TP53-associated route, respectively, but other genetic changes may also play a role. Studies on somatic mutations in vulvar cancer other than TP53 are limited in number and size. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of genetic mutations in 107 vulvar squamous cell carcinomas (VSCCs).
A total of 107 paraffin-embedded tissue samples of primarily surgically treated VSCCs were tested for HPV infection and screened for mutations in 14 genes (BRAF, CDKN2A(p16), CTNNB1, FBXW7, FGFR2, FGFR3, FOXL2, HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, PTEN, and TP53) using Sanger sequencing and mass spectrometry.
Mutations were detected in 7 genes. Of 107 VSCCs, 66 tumors (62%) contained at least one mutation (TP53 = 58, CDKN2A(p16) = 14, HRAS = 10, PIK3CA = 7, PPP2R1A = 3, KRAS = 1, PTEN = 1). Mutations occurred most frequently in HPV-negative samples. Five-year survival was significantly worse for patients with a mutation (47% vs 59%, P = .035), with a large effect from patients carrying HRAS-mutations.
Somatic mutations were detected in 62% of VSCCs. As expected, HPV infection and TP53-mutations play a key role in the development of VSCC, but CDKN2A(p16), HRAS, and PIK3CA-mutations were also frequently seen in HPV-negative patients. Patients with somatic mutations, especially HRAS-mutations, have a significantly worse prognosis than patients lacking these changes, which could be of importance for the development of targeted therapy.
"After viral DNA integration in human host-cells, these viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 are overexpressed. Then, E6 degrades the tumor suppressor protein p53, therefore inducing the absence of cell cycle arrest . Moreover, E7 induces an inactive retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene product, resulting in hyperproliferation of host cells, with overexpression of the cell cycle-related marker p16 . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Condyloma acuminatum, intraepithelial neoplasia, and squamous cell carcinoma are three relatively frequent vulvar lesions. Condyloma acuminatum is induced by low risk genotypes of human papillomavirus (HPV). Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) and squamous cell carcinoma have different etiopathogenic pathways and are related or not with high risk HPV types. The goal of this paper is to review the main pathological and clinical features of these lesions. A special attention has been paid also to epidemiological data, pathological classification, and clinical implications of these diseases.
"Second, in cases with remaining low cellularity the use of immunohistochemistry should be considered. There might be an important role for HPV testing and the use of markers such as p53 or p16 to make a distinction between benign, HPV-related (usual) VIN/SCC or HPV-non-related (differentiated) VIN/SCC (Van der Avoort et al, 2006). Recently, an attempt was made to identify a new marker of specifically dVIN. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Taking a biopsy is a standard procedure to make the correct diagnosis in patients with suspicious premalignant vulvar lesions. The use of a less invasive diagnostic tool as triage instrument to determine whether biopsy is necessary may improve patient comfort especially in patients with chronic vulvar disorders that may warrant consecutive biopsies. This study was conducted to investigate whether vulvar brush cytology is feasible and may be used to detect (pre)malignant vulvar lesions.
A pilot study was performed with patients having clinically normal vulvar skin, lichen sclerosus (LS), usual or differentiated vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia or squamous cell carcinoma. A total of 65 smears were taken with the use of a vulvar brush and biopsies were performed for histopathological analysis.
Out of 65 smears, 17 (26%) were discarded because of poor cellularity. A total of 28 of 29 (97%) smears with a histological proven (pre)malignancy had a smear classified as 'suspicious' or 'uncertain'. Cytology classified 11 smears as 'non-suspicious', of which 10 (91%) were indeed normal skin or LS. The accuracy, based on the presence of a lesion, for (pre)malignant lesions with the use of the brush showed a sensitivity of 97% and a negative predictive value of 88%.
Vulvar brush cytology is feasible and may be a first step in the development of a triage instrument to determine whether subsequent biopsy of a clinically (pre)malignant lesion is necessary.
British Journal of Cancer 12/2011; 106(2):269-73. DOI:10.1038/bjc.2011.533 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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