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Clinical Significance of hTERC Gene Detection in Exfoliated Cervical Epithelial Cells for Cervical Lesions

Zheng, Xiuhui PhD*; Liang, Peihe PhD; Zheng, Yingru PhD*; Yi, Ping PhD*; Liu, Qiang PhD*; Han, Jian PhD*; Huang, Yinhu PhD*; Zhou, Yuanguo PhD; Guo, Jianxin PhD*; Li, Li MD, PhD*

International Journal of Gynecological Cancer: June 2013 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - p 785–790
doi: 10.1097/IGC.0b013e31828f39a0
Basic Science

Objective To investigate the clinical significance of abnormal human telomerase RNA gene component (hTERC) gene amplification tested by fluorescence in situ hybridization in cervical lesions.

Methods In 373 patients with cytologic abnormalities, high-risk human papilomavirus (HR-HPV) was detected by the hybrid capture II method, and abnormal amplification of the hTERC gene in exfoliated cells was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization.

Results Cell smear findings suggested atypical squamous cells in 148 patients, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion in 62 patients, and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion in 107 patients, squamous cell carcinoma in 56 patients, and cervical biopsy-revealed inflammation in 89 patients, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) I in 36 patients, CIN II in 43 patients, CIN III in 129 patients, and infiltrating carcinoma in 76 patients. In the inflammation, CIN I, CIN II, CIN III, and infiltrating carcinoma groups, the infection rates of HR-HPV were 29.21%, 52.78%, 74.42%, 92.25%, and 93.42% (P < 0.01), respectively; the positive rates of hTERC gene amplification were 0.00%, 13.89%, 41.86%, 78.29%, and 89.47% (P < 0.01), respectively. With respect to advanced cervical lesions (≥CIN II), cytology (≥ low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion), HR-HPV testing, and hTERC testing differed insignificantly in the negative predictive value (P > 0.05), but they differed significantly in the sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value (P < 0.01). Among the 3 methods, hTERC testing showed the highest specificity and positive predictive value, and HR-HPV testing showed the highest sensitivity. In 41 patients with untreated CIN I and CIN II, the sensitivity of detection of hTERC gene amplification to predict lesion progression was 88.89%, and the specificity was 93.75%.

Conclusion Detection of abnormal amplification of the hTERC gene can assist in screening cervical lesions and identifying CIN I/II patients with a high progression risk.

*Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, †Department of Urology, and ‡7th Research Laboratory, Institute of Surgery Research, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Li Li, MD, PhD, and Jianxin Guo, PhD, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Institute of Surgery Research, Daping Hospital, The Third Military Medical University, No. 10 Changjiang Branch, Daping, Yuzhong District, Chongqing 400042, China. E-mail:;

Financial support was received from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81072126) and Science Foundation of Ministry of Health (WKJ 2007-3-001).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received March 20, 2012

Accepted February 26, 2013

Copyright © 2013 by IGCS and ESGO