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Loss of histone variant macroH2A2 expression associates with progression of anal neoplasm



The macroH2A histone variants are epigenetic marks for inactivated chromatin. In this study, we examined the expression of macroH2A2 in anal neoplasm from anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) to anal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).


AIN and anal SCC samples were analysed for macroH2A2 expression, HIV and human papilloma virus (HPV). The association of macroH2A2 expression with clinical grade, disease recurrence, overall survival and viral involvement was determined.


macroH2A2 was expressed in normal squamous tissue and lower grade AIN (I and II). Expression was lost in 38% of high-grade AIN (III) and 71% of anal SCC (p=0.002). Patients with AIN with macroH2A2-negative lesions showed earlier recurrence than those with macroH2A2-positive neoplasm (p=0.017). With anal SCC, macroH2A2 loss was more prevalent in the HPV-negative tumours.


Loss of histone variant macroH2A2 expression is associated with the progression of anal neoplasm and can be used as a prognostic biomarker for high-grade AIN and SCC.

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