Cervical cancer screening using Papanicolaou's smear test has been highly effective in reducing death from this disease. However, this test is unaffordable in low- and middle-income countries, and its complexity has limited wide-scale uptake. Alternative tests, such as visual inspection with acetic acid or Lugol's iodine and human papillomavirus DNA, are sub-optimal in terms of specificity and sensitivity, thus sensitive and affordable tests with high specificity for on-site reporting are needed. Using proteomics and bioinformatics, we have identified valosin-containing protein (VCP) as differentially expressed between normal specimens and those with cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia grade 2/3 (CIN2/CIN3+) or worse. VCP-specific immunohistochemical staining (validated by a point-of-care technology) provided sensitive (93%) and specific (88%) identification of CIN2/CIN3+ and may serve as a critical biomarker for cervical-cancer screening. Future efforts will focus on further refinements to enhance analytic sensitivity and specificity of our proposed test, as well as on prototype development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas