A better understanding of the development of metastatic disease and the identification of molecular markers for cancer spread would be useful for the design of improved treatment strategies. This study was conducted to identify gene expressions associated with metastatic phenotypes of locally advanced cervical carcinomas and investigate whether gains or losses of these genes could play a role in regulation of the transcripts. Gene expressions and copy number changes were determined in primary tumors from 29 patients with and 19 without diagnosed lymph node metastases by use of cDNA and genomic microarray techniques, respectively.
Thirty-one genes that differed in expression between the node positive and negative tumors were identified. Expressions of eight of these genes (MRPL11, CKS2, PDK2, MRPS23, MSN, TBX3, KLF3, LSM3) correlated with progression free survival in univariate analysis and were therefore more strongly associated with metastatic phenotypes than the others. Immunohistochemistry data of CKS2 and MSN showed similar relationships to survival. The prognostic genes clustered into two groups, suggesting two major metastatic phenotypes. One group was associated with rapid proliferation, oxidative phosphorylation, invasiveness, and tumor size (MRPS23, MRPL11, CKS2, LSM3, TBX3, MSN) and another with hypoxia tolerance, anaerobic metabolism, and high lactate content (PDK2, KLF3). Multivariate analysis identified tumor volume and PDK2 expression as independent prognostic variables. Gene copy number changes of the differentially expressed genes were not frequent, but correlated with the expression level for seven genes, including MRPS23, MSN, and LSM3.
Gene expressions associated with known metastatic phenotypes of cervical cancers were identified. Our findings may indicate molecular mechanisms underlying development of these phenotypes and be useful as markers of cancer spread. Gains or losses of the genes may be involved in development of the metastatic phenotypes in some cases, but other mechanisms for transcriptional regulation are probably important in the majority of tumors.||