Cellular FLICE-like Inhibitory Protein Long Form (c-FLIPL) Overexpression is Related to Cervical Cancer Progression

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Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide and infection by high-risk human papillomavirus types is a precursor event. The cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) has been found to be overexpressed in several types of cancers and could be associated with cervical cancer progression because of its ability to inhibit the apoptotic process. To detect c-FLIP expression in cervical cancer, an immunohistochemical staining was performed, using tissue microarrays, on a series of 536 archival biopsy samples, including normal cervical tissues, low-grade and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, and squamous cervical carcinomas. The epithelium in the normal cervix and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions mainly stained negatively for c-FLIP, whereas high-grade intraepithelial lesions and cancer samples showed an elevated expression of c-FLIP. A direct association was observed between the increasing grade of the lesion and the intensity of c-FLIP staining, in which the frequency of intense c-FLIP expression increased from 12.5% in the normal tissue to 82.1% in the cervical cancer tissue. An increased expression of c-FLIP may be an important factor in the progression of cervical cancer. This finding could aid in identifying patients with preneoplastic lesions at greater risk of developing cervical cancer. c-FLIP expression in cervical tissue may be a potential cervical cancer progression marker.

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