Detection ofActinomycesspp. in cervical exudates from women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or cervical cancer

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Under certain circumstances, Actinomyces behaves as an opportunistic microorganism and can cause actinomycosis, a chronic and inflammatory granulomatous infection. The purpose of this project was to detect the presence of Actinomyces in cervical exudates from women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and women with cervical cancer.


Cervical samples from 92 women were divided into three groups: CIN, cervical cancer and healthy women. Metagenomic DNA extraction was performed following the Qiagen QIAamp Mini Kit protocol. A specific fragment (675 bp) was amplified by PCR in order to detect the presence of Actinomycetales. Samples in which Actinomycetales was detected were subjected to separate amplification reactions with primer pairs for A. israelii, A. viscosus, A. meyeri and A. odontolyticus. Amplified products were observed by 2% agarose gel electrophoresis.


Actinomyces were found in 10% of women with CIN, 36.6% of women with cervical cancer and 9% of healthy women. The species identified in this study were A. meyeri in 14/92 samples (15.2%), A. viscosus in 10/92 samples (10.8%), A. odontolyticus in 4/92 samples (4.3%) and A. israelii in 6/92 samples (6.5%).


Patients with cervical cancer had a higher prevalence of the presence of Actinomyces compared to the CIN and control groups. This is the first study in which a deliberate search of this genus has been performed in women with cervical pathologies. The use of specific primers for each species facilitated their detection in comparison with traditional isolation methods. More information is necessary to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the complex role that bacterial communities may play in the development of cancer (and vice versa).

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