Objective: To strengthen the role of high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in the development of cervical cancer, and the association between HPV and the cell cycle inhibitor gene p16ink4a in cervical carcinogenesis. Methods: In this study, the association between p16ink4a and the presence of HPV DNA in cervical lesions was investigated in a total of 177 cervical biopsies classified as benign (n = 42), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL; n = 34), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL; n = 48) and invasive cancer (n = 53). p16ink4a expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry while HPV DNA was localized by in situ hybridization. Results: No significant association was found between p16ink4a expression and HPV presence in benign and LSIL samples. In HSIL and invasive cancer, a significant association was found between p16ink4a overexpression and the presence of HPV DNA. Conclusion: Immunohistochemical p16ink4a expression is associated with HPV infection in HSIL and cervical cancer, suggesting a role of p16 as a biomarker of HPV-associated cervical lesions.

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