The aim of this study was to determine whether biomarker P16INK4a predicts progression risk for anal low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSILs).Design:
A retrospective study.Methods:
One hundred and nine HIV-infected and 18 HIV-uninfected patients with biopsy-proven anal LSIL at initial screening underwent surveillance high-resolution anoscopy and biopsy within 2 years of diagnosis. P16 immunohistochemistry was performed on index lesions and evaluated using a semi-quantitative scoring system. The association of predictors and lesional outcomes (progression, persistence or regression) was analysed using ordinal logistic regression models. A subset of p16-positive LSILs was tested for high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) DNA using real-time PCR.Results:
Upon follow-up, 46 (36%) LSILs progressed to high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), 50 (40%) persisted as LSIL and 31 (24%) regressed to benign mucosa (median 16 months, range 5–24 months). Age, sex, race, history of condylomata, CD4+ T-cell count and HIV plasma viral load were similar regardless of clinical outcome. P16 immunoreactivity of index lesion was classified as block-positive (n = 36), focal-positive (n = 49) or negative (n = 42). Sixty-four percent of block-positive lesions progressed, as opposed to 35% of focal-positive and 14% of negative lesions (P < 0.001). HR-HPV DNA was detected in 90% of p16 block-positive lesions vs. 55% of focal-positive lesions. In unadjusted analyses, positive p16, HIV and former smoker status were significantly associated with lesional persistence and progression. P16 remained the only significant predictor in an adjusted model.Conclusion:
Biomarker p16 is the strongest predictor for anal LSIL-to-HSIL progression, outperforming other risk factors. To enhance the overall effectiveness of surveillance, we propose using p16 immunohistochemistry to help stratify patients at high vs. low risk of progression.