28 December 2021

Cervical cancer remains a public health problem worldwide. Although we know that Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are the causative agent of the disease, there are still unknowns about how the virus induces carcinogenesis in women. Recent approaches have focused on studying the cervicovaginal microbiome and its association with HPV infections. However, profiling the microbiome to investigate the disease requires sequencing techniques that discriminate between microbial species, which current methods generally cannot achieve with high confidence. 

Hoping to improve microbiome profiling to fully understand HPV-induced cervical lesions, the group led by Willem Melchers, theme Women's cancers, and consisting of  Karolina Andralojc, theme Infectious diseases and global health and Mariano Molina from the Department of Medical Microbiology, in collaboration with William Leenders from the Department of Biochemistry, the CMBI, and the Departments of Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, developed the method circular probe-based RNA sequencing (CiRNAseq). The results were published in the Journal BMC Biology on 16 December 2021.

They described the design and validation of probes that bind regions of interest in the ribosomal genes of more than 300 microbial species that are highly relevant for the cervicovaginal environment. They conducted in vitro experiments and demonstrated that CiRNAseq could perform DNA and RNA profiling and identify microbial communities and genera with high sensitivity. Lastly, they profiled a cohort of cervical smears that were either HPV negative without lesions or HPV positive with high-grade lesions and confirmed the well-described microbiome change that occurs upon HPV infection.

The cervicovaginal microbiome is associated with HPV infection, persistence, and carcinogenesis. This study demonstrates the potential of CiRNAseq for high-resolution microbiome profiling, which is essential to decipher the microbiome's role in women's cervical health and disease. They are currently analyzing the relationship between the microbiome and HPV in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, aiming to elucidate viral carcinogenesis in women. 

Go to publication

Related news items

RIMLS awards call for nominations

19 October 2021 RIMLS awards several prizes to stimulate and honor our (young) researchers. Upcoming awards are Supervisor of the Year, Best Master Thesis, Best Publication, Best Image and more. Send your nominations now before 24 November 2021. read more

Joining forces with patient communities to drive FAIR data

17 March 2021 Nawel van Lin created a new animation, which was presented during the event on Duchenne data sharing to spread awareness of the benefits of FAIR. read more

RIMLS online award ceremony proudly presenting the winners

13 January 2021 In this special webinar of the RIMLS New Year Celebration, scientific director René Bindels reviewed 2020 and looked forward to 2021. But more importantly a number of researchers received prizes in the traditional RIMLS awards ceremony.  read more

Detecting more rare diseases through analysis in three dimensions contributed by Radboudumc, BioProdict and Vartion

19 November 2020 Martijn Huijnen, will lead an European Regional Development Fund (EFRO) project entitled "Diagnostics-in-3D". read more

FAIR data is necessary but what can it bring you?

11 November 2020 As a researcher you are obliged to manage your data following the FAIR principles. But is it only a necessity or does it actually have advantages? The Radboudumc takes you along in a number of these showcases. read more

Best publication award of 2019 in dermatology awarded to Jos Smits and Tom Ederveen

30 September 2020 The Dutch Society for Experimental Dermatology (NVED) awarded the publication in Journal of Investigative Dermatology of Jos Smits and Tom Ederveen. read more