Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Analysis of the diagnostic performance of PAX1/SOX1 gene methylation in cervical precancerous lesions and its role in triage diagnosis.

Methylation panels, tools for investigating epigenetic changes associated with diseases like cancer, can identify DNA methylation patterns indicative of disease, providing diagnostic or prognostic insights. However, the application of methylation panels focusing on the sex-determining region Y-box 1 (SOX1) and paired box gene 1 (PAX1) genes for diagnosing cervical lesions is under-researched. This study aims to examine the diagnostic performance of PAX1/SOX1 gene methylation as a marker for cervical precancerous lesions and its potential application in triage diagnosis. From September 2022 to April 2023, 181 patients with abnormal HPV-DNA tests or cytological exam results requiring colposcopy were studied at Hubei Maternal and Child Health Hospital, China. Data were collected from colposcopy, cytology, HPV-DNA tests, and PAX1/SOX1 methylation detection. Patients were categorized as control, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia Grade 1 (CIN1), Grade 2 (CIN2), Grade 3 (CIN3), and cervical cancer (CC) groups based on histopathology. We performed HPV testing, liquid-based cytology, and PAX1/SOX1 gene methylation testing. We evaluated the diagnostic value of methylation detection in cervical cancer using DNA methylation positivity rate, sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC), and explored its potential for triage diagnosis. PAX1/SOX1 methylation positivity rates were: control 17.1%, CIN1 22.5%, CIN2 100.0%, CIN3 90.0%, and CC 100.0%. The AUC values for PAX1 gene methylation detection in diagnosing CIN1+, CIN2+, and CIN3+ were 0.52 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.43-0.62), 0.88 (95% CI: 0.80-0.97), and 0.88 (95% CI: 0.75-1.00), respectively. Corresponding AUC values for SOX1 gene methylation detection were 0.47 (95% CI: 0.40-0.58), 0.80 (95% CI: 0.68-0.93), and 0.92 (95% CI: 0.811-1.00), respectively. In HPV16/18-negative patients, methylation detection showed sensitivity of 32.4% and specificity of 83.7% for CIN1+. For CIN2+ and CIN3+, sensitivity was all 100%, with specificities of 83.0% and 81.1%. Among the patients who underwent colposcopy examination, 166 cases had cytological examination results ≤ASCUS, of which 37 cases were positive for methylation, and the colposcopy referral rate was 22.29%. PAX1/SOX1 gene methylation detection exhibits strong diagnostic efficacy for cervical precancerous lesions and holds significant value in triage diagnosis.

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