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Usefulness of serum mass spectrometry to identify women diagnosed with higher grades of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia may differ by race.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



An early detection of precursor lesions of cervical cancer will help to eliminate the worldwide burden of cervical cancer.


This exploratory study aimed to identify, by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS), serum protein profiles that distinguish cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grades CIN 1 or lower (≤CIN 1) from CIN 2+ among 127 women infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) 16. Of these 127 women, 25 and 23 were diagnosed with CIN 2 or CIN 3, respectively (cases), and 79 were diagnosed with ≤CIN 1 (non-cases). Serum protein profiles were generated by MALDI-TOF-MS. A total of 95 m/z peaks were tested for association with case status by two racial groups, African American (AAs) and Caucasian American (CAs).


Overall, 2 protein peaks identified by our study demonstrated higher specificity for identifying CIN 2+ than previously published studies. An increasing intensity of [m/z 4459] was associated with a higher risk of being a case, regardless of race with a specificity of 58% for CIN 2 and a specificity of 75% for CIN 3. An increasing intensity of [m/z 4154] was not only associated with a higher risk of being a case only among CAs, but also had an opposite effect among AAs.


Identification of specific proteins associated with the peaks detected in serum and development of antibody-based tests such as ELISA should lead to the development of race-specific, non-invasive and cost effective screening tests with higher specificity for identifying HPV 16 associated CIN 2+.

Link to PubMed