Identification of two anal squamous cell carcinoma subtypes displaying distinct proteomic signatures and clinicopathological features


The incidence of anal carcinoma and its precursors is increasing worldwide. Most anal canal neoplasms (~90%) are etiologically linked to HPV16 infection and, for undetermined reasons, a subgroup of patients is associated with a poor outcome.


In this study published in The Journal of Pathology (IF: 7.381), Michael Herfs' group [Laboratory of Experimental Pathology (GIGA Cancer); Prof Philippe Delvenne] and collaborators correlated both proteomic signatures and clinicopathological features of (pre)cancer lesions originating from two distinct parts of the anal canal (based on microscopic examination): the external portion (squamous zone) versus anal transitional zone. Although neoplastic cells were indistinguishable by morphology, principal component analysis of the whole proteome significantly revealed a clear subclassification of anal cancers based on their cellular origin. These latter results were further confirmed by the region-specific immunoreactivity displayed by selected/freshly discovered biomarkers. Of a great interest for both pathologists and oncologists, neoplasms arising from the transitional zone displayed a significantly higher proliferative index, a poor/basaloid differentiation and were associated with reduced disease-free and overall survivals.


Overall, these findings highlight the existence of two subtypes of anal squamous cell carcinoma, the prognostic significance of tumor origin in patients treated for HPV-positive cancer and further confirm the high susceptibility of mucosal junctions for carcinogenic HPV infection.





J Pathol. 2016 Dec 15. doi: 10.1002/path.4858. [Epub ahead of print]

Proteomic signatures reveal a dualistic and clinically relevant classification of anal canal


Michael Herfs1, Rémi Longuespée2,6, Charles M Quick3, Patrick Roncarati1, Meggy Suarez-Carmona1,7, Pascale Hubert1, Alizée Lebeau1, Diane Bruyère1, Gabriel Mazzucchelli2, Nicolas Smargiasso2, Dominique Baiwir2,4, Keith Lai3, Andrew Dunn3, Fabiola Obregon3, Eric J Yang5,8, Edwin De Pauw2, Christopher P. Crum5, Philippe Delvenne1

Michaël Herfs -