Aberrant p16 methylation is a biomarker for tobacco exposure in cervical squamous cell carcinogenesis

Jayanthi S. Lea, Robert Coleman, Aleena Kurien, John O. Schorge, David S. Miller, John D. Minna, Carolyn Y. Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the association between active tobacco exposure and aberrant p16 promoter methylation in primary cervical squamous cell cancer and high-grade squamous cervical dysplasia. Study design: p16 methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction was performed on DNA that was extracted from 60 cervical cancers, 30 high-grade dysplasia specimens, and 78 normal cervical cytologic specimens. Patient data were obtained by medical record review or were collected prospectively. Results: Aberrant p16 methylation was significantly higher in squamous cell cervical cancers (61%) than in squamous high-grade dysplasia (20%) or normal cytologic specimens (7.5%). Approximately one half the women with squamous cancer and one half of the women with high-grade dysplasia were active smokers. Aberrant p16 methylation was associated with active tobacco use in patients with squamous carcinoma (odds ratio, 20.6; 95% CI, 3.6-118; P<.001) and high-grade dysplasia (odds ratio, 4.57; 95% CI, 1.63-12.78; P = .002). Conclusion: Aberrant p16 methylation is associated strongly with active tobacco use in squamous cell cervical cancers and high-grade dysplasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-679
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Cervical cancer
  • Methylation
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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