Squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) is a tumor marker for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of uterine cervix, lung, and esophagus. It was encoded by two highly homologous genes, SCCA1 and SCCA2. However, the relevance of SCCA genes to squamous cell carcinogenesis and patient outcome remains far from clear. In this study, by using laser microdissection and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction procedures, the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the SCCA1 and SCCA2 genes in normal, dysplastic, and malignant squamous epithelia from uterine cervical tissues were analyzed and correlated with outcome of cancer patients. We found that the SCCA2/A1 mRNA ratios were progressively increased from normal, dysplastic, to cancer cells, and the mean ratio was significantly higher in cancer tissues than that in normal epithelium (P= 0.02). The SCCA2/A1 mRNA ratios were not significantly associated with types of human papillomavirus infection (P > 0.05). High SCCA2/SCCA1 mRNA ratios (ratio >1) were an independent predictor of disease recurrence (relative risk: 3.58; P= 0.003). Of the 38 patients with cervical cancer, 12 patients with high SCCA2/SCCA1 mRNA ratios had a significant lower 2-year disease-free survival of only 50%, while it was 92% in those with low SCCA2/SCCA1 mRNA ratios (P < 0.001). In conclusion, our study indicated that the ratios of SCCA2 to SCCA1 RNA were increased during the process of cervical carcinogenesis, and patients with elevated SCCA2/A1 ratio carried a higher risk for recurrence in early-stage uterine cervical cancer.
- cervical cancer
- real-time quantitative RT-PCR
- squamous cell carcinoma antigen
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