Open Access Research article

Comprehensive serial analysis of gene expression of the cervical transcriptome

Ashleen Shadeo1*, Raj Chari1, Greg Vatcher1, Jennifer Campbell1, Kim M Lonergan1, Jasenka Matisic2, Dirk van Niekerk2, Thomas Ehlen34, Dianne Miller34, Michele Follen5, Wan L Lam1 and Calum MacAulay6

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Genetics & Developmental Biology, British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada

2 Pathology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada

3 Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

4 Gynecologic Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada

5 Gynecologic Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

6 Cancer Imaging, British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:142  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-142

Published: 1 June 2007



More than half of the approximately 500,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide each year will die from this disease. Investigation of genes expressed in precancer lesions compared to those expressed in normal cervical epithelium will yield insight into the early stages of disease. As such, establishing a baseline from which to compare to, is critical in elucidating the abnormal biology of disease. In this study we examine the normal cervical tissue transcriptome and investigate the similarities and differences in relation to CIN III by Long-SAGE (L-SAGE).


We have sequenced 691,390 tags from four L-SAGE libraries increasing the existing gene expression data on cervical tissue by 20 fold. One-hundred and eighteen unique tags were highly expressed in normal cervical tissue and 107 of them mapped to unique genes, most belong to the ribosomal, calcium-binding and keratinizing gene families. We assessed these genes for aberrant expression in CIN III and five genes showed altered expression. In addition, we have identified twelve unique HPV 16 SAGE tags in the CIN III libraries absent in the normal libraries.


Establishing a baseline of gene expression in normal cervical tissue is key for identifying changes in cancer. We demonstrate the utility of this baseline data by identifying genes with aberrant expression in CIN III when compared to normal tissue.