Drug Discov Ther. 2023;17(3):191-200. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2022.01095)

The role of APOBEC3A in cervical cancer development and progression: A retrospective study

Zhang M, Wei Z, Zhao HB, Zhang S, Wu J, Zhou J, Wang Y, Wang L, Du Y


The majority of cervical cancer cases are contributed to chronic infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), while only a fraction of infected women finally develop cancer. It is suggested that apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like 3A (APOBEC3A), a type of mRNA editing enzyme, may be involved in the development and progression of HPVrelated tumors. This study aimed to explore the role and potential mechanisms of APOBEC3A in cervical cancer. First, the expression levels, prognostic values and genetic alterations of APOBEC3A in cervical cancer were explored using various bioinformatics tools and databases. Then, functional enrichment analyses were performed. Finally, genetic polymorphisms (rs12157810 and rs12628403) of APOBEC3A were genotyped in our clinical sample of 91 cervical patients. The associations between APOBEC3A polymorphisms and clinical characteristics as well as patient overall survival were further evaluated. Compared with normal tissues, the expression level of APOBEC3A was significantly elevated in cervical cancer. High expression of APOBEC3A had better survival compared with the low expression group. The immunohistochemistry results showed that the expression of APOBEC3A protein was localized in the nucleus. APOBEC3A expression level in cervical and endocervical cancer (CESC) was negatively correlated with the infiltration level of cancer-associated fibroblasts, and positively correlated with the infiltration level of gamma delta T cells. No association was observed between APOBEC3A polymorphisms and patient survival. The expression of APOBEC3A was significantly higher in cervical cancer tissues, while high expression was associated with better prognosis in cervical cancer patients. APOBEC3A has the potential of being used in prognostic evaluation in cervical cancer patients.

KEYWORDS: APOBEC3A, expression, cervical cancer, bioinformatics, SNP, survival

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