Methylation Levels of CADM1, MAL, and MIR124-2 in Cervical Scrapes for Triage of HIV-Infected, High-Risk HPV-Positive Women in Kenya.

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Objectives: To evaluate the value of cervical cell methylation markers in screening HIV-infected women also positive for high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV).

Design: Cross-sectional and prospective.

Methods: Two hundred forty-eight HIV-infected hrHPV-positive women enrolled in a cervical cancer screening study in Nairobi, Kenya, had colposcopy-directed biopsy and histological diagnoses. Exfoliated cervical cells were used to measure methylation levels of the CADM1, MAL, and MIR124-2 genes using quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. Methylation levels were summarized as cycle threshold (Ct) ratios compared with the β-actin gene. Median Ct ratios were compared across histological diagnoses, with 95% confidence intervals calculated by bootstrapping. Methylation levels at 6 months were assessed in 128 women who remained hrHPV positive.

Results: All 3 methylation markers showed significantly (P < 0.001) raised median Ct ratios in women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 3 compared with women with a normal cervix. When markers were combined into a single test, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for prediction of CIN2 or worse (CIN2+) was 0.80. When the test was calibrated to have similar specificity, sensitivity of the combined tri-marker test for CIN2+ was comparable with cytology [atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or worse] (89% and 95%, respectively) and superior to visual inspection with acetic acid (85% vs 70%) and HPV16/18 genotyping (65% vs 40%). Among women with no CIN2+ at baseline and persistent hrHPV at 6-month follow-up, MAL-m1 and MIR124-2 Ct ratios increased significantly.

Conclusions: Methylation markers in combination with HPV testing may offer a full molecular screening strategy to the many HIV-infected women who are also hrHPV positive.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes