The Keratin Patterns

Keratins filament proteins have a specific distribution pattern in epithelial tissues that change during neoplastic transformation of the uterine cervix. Of particular interest are the changes that occur in keratins 8, 10, 13, and 17. Keratin 8 was identified in endocervical columnar cells, whereas keratin 17 in endocervical reserve cells. They are both expressed during malignant transformation of human cervix and are suggestive of progression when present in CIN I, II, and III lesions. In contrast, keratins 10 and 13 are expressed in ectocervical epithelium and are expressed in well-differentiated areas and in keratin pearls of squamous carcinomas (47).

Expressions of keratins 8 and 17 increased from reference cervix to invasive carcinomas; in contrast expressions of keratins 10 and 13 were lost with increasing severity of lesions. Expressions of keratins 8 and 17 were significantly more frequent in CIN III lesions and invasive carcinomas, suggesting that both keratins are highly specific markers of malignant transformation in the human cervix. A recent study (48), investigating a possible diagnostic use of keratins in cervical cancer, concluded that increase in the expressions of keratins 8 and 17 and loss in the expressions of keratins 10 and 13 are good markers of malignant phenotype. Moreover, the expression pattern of keratin 10 could be useful for subtyping and grading squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix.

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