Kits For And Methods Of Differential Staining Of Cervical Cancer Cells And/or Tissues

  • Published: Nov 10, 2015
  • Earliest Priority: May 19 2009
  • Family: 7
  • Cited Works: 29
  • Cited by: 0
  • Cites: 43
  • Sequences: 30
  • Additional Info: Cited Works Full text
  *US09182403B2*
  US009182403B2                                 
(12)United States Patent(10)Patent No.: US 9,182,403 B2
 Idelevich et al. (45) Date of Patent:Nov.  10, 2015

(54)Kits for and methods of differential staining of cervical cancer cells and/or tissues 
    
(75)Inventors: Pavel Idelevich,  Rechovot (IL); 
  Adi Elkeles,  Tel-Mond (IL); 
  Dov Terkieltaub,  Givat Shmuel (IL); 
  Ami Eyal,  Maccabim-Reut (IL) 
(73)Assignee:Zetiq Technologies LTD., (IL), Type: Foreign Company 
(*)Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days. 
(21)Appl. No.: 13/320,558 
(22)PCT Filed:May  17, 2010 
(86)PCT No.: PCT/IL2010/000399 
 § 371 (c)(1), (2), (4) Date: Nov.  15, 2011  
(87)PCT Pub. No.:WO20/10/134073 
 PCT Pub. Date:Nov.  25, 2010 
(65)Prior Publication Data 
 US 2012/0064526 A1 Mar.  15, 2012 
 Related U.S. Patent Documents 
(60)Provisional application No. 61/213,228, filed on May  19, 2009.
 
Jan.  1, 2013 G 01 N 33 57411 F I Nov.  10, 2015 US B H C
(51)Int. Cl. G01N 033/574 (20060101)
(58)Field of Search  None

 
(56)References Cited
 
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     * cited by examiner
 
     Primary Examiner —Mark Halvorson
     Art Unit — 1642
     Exemplary claim number — 1
 
(74)Attorney, Agent, or Firm — Whitmyer IP Group LLC

(57)

Abstract

Provided are methods and kits for staining cervical cell sample by contacting the cervical cell sample with a Ficus elastics plant extract, staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin, and staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast Green. Also provided are method of diagnosing a pre-malignant or a malignant cervical tumor in a subject, by staining the cervical cell sample and identifying at least one cervical cell having a red cytoplasm above a pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold is indicative of a non- or less-differentiated cell as compared to a normal cervical cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or a malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
13 Claims, 28 Drawing Sheets, and 66 Figures


REFERENCE TO CO-PENDING APPLICATIONS

[0001] Priority is claimed as a U.S. national entry under 35 U.S.C. 371 of PCT/IL2010/000399, filed on May 17, 2010; which claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/213,228, filed on May 19, 2009.

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, relates to kits and methods of differential staining of cervical cancer cells and/or tissues.
[0003] Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-related death in women in underdeveloped countries. Worldwide, it is estimated that approximately 473,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, with about 253,500 deaths per year.
[0004] Routine cervical cancer screening of the population by cervical vaginal smears has significantly decreased the incidence of cervical cancer in Western countries. In the United States, in 1998, about 12,800 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,800 died from the disease. The incidence (7 new cases per 100,000 women per year) and mortality in the US are about half those for the rest of the world.
[0005] Epidemiological research conducted in 2003 in the central and western regions of China showed that cervical cancer is becoming a major health hazard for women in the countryside, with nearly 100,000 cases of cervical cancer being diagnosed annually, with approximately 20,000 deaths in 2001.
[0006] Cervical cancer develops in the lining of the cervix by gradual abnormal changes of cervix cells. Changes include low, intermediate or high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), low or high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), a condition that precedes cervical cancer, carcinoma in situ or invasive carcinoma. Invasive cervical cancer includes about 80% of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and about 20% of adenocarcinomas.
[0007] Cervical vaginal smears are scrapings from the female reproductive tract aimed at enabling the diagnosis of numerous types of atypia, some of neoplastic nature, others of pre-malignant nature, or other pathological processes. All types of cellular samples must be transferred to a slide, processed and stained in order to enable visualization by means of light microscopy.
[0008] At present, diagnostic cytology is typically based on a rather narrow set of staining methods and compositions such as alcohol-fixed Papanicolaou stain and the air-dried May-Grunwald-Giemsa (a version of which is known as Romanowsky) stain, while staining with hematoxylin and eosin, Shorr's staining for endocrine cytology and the Pappenheim method are more rarely used.
[0009] The Papanicolaou staining method was initially developed for analysis of vaginal smears [Papanicolaou and Traut, Am. Y. Obst. Gynecol. (1941) 42:193-206; Papanicolaou “Atlas of Exfoliative Cytology” Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (1954)] and allows the differentiation of cell types of stratified and simple epithelia present in alcohol-fixed smears, with a detailed morphology of the nucleus and cytoplasm in normal and tumor cells. However, the Papanicolaou staining procedure, as well as all other cytological staining procedures, does not reveal any tinctorial selectivity for malignant cells, and the assessment of pathologically relevant traits is performed by means of interpretation of cellular morphology, which usually requires highly qualified and experienced cytopathologists.
[0010] The classical cytological techniques are in many cases supplemented by a group of technologies, which are based on compounds of high affinity and specificity, known as immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry or in situ hybridization. These technologies are used for detection of tumor markers of prognostic value (e.g., the p16INK4A and p14ARF markers, p16 protein), as well as the detection of other oncogenic expression features and nucleic acid sequences.
[0011] PCT Publication No. WO2007/102146 discloses a method of staining or pre-staining cells using an extract of a Ficus elastica plant, or active ingredients thereof, for the diagnosis of cancer or metabolic diseases.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical cell sample, the method comprising: (i) contacting the cervical cell sample with a Ficus elastics plant extract, (ii) staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin, and (iii) staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green, thereby staining the cervical cell sample.
[0013] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method diagnosing a pre-malignant or a malignant cervical tumor in a subject, comprising (a) staining a cervical cell sample of the subject according to the method of the invention, to thereby obtain a stained cervical cell sample, and (b) identifying at least one cervical cell of the cervical cell sample having a red cytoplasm above a pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold is indicative of a non- or less-differentiated cell as compared to a normal cervical cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0014] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method of the invention, further comprising: (c) analyzing a morphology of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of an abnormal morphology in the same cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold as compared to a morphology of a normal cervical cell is indicative of the pre-malignant or malignant cervical tumor.
[0015] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising detecting an expression level of a cervical malignant marker or a cervical pre-malignant marker in at least one cervical cell of the cervical cell sample, wherein an expression level above a pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant marker or of the cervical pre-malignant marker is indicative that the at least one cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell, respectively, thereby identifying the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant cell.
[0016] According to some embodiments of the invention, the presence of at least one cervical cell which is identified as a non- or less-differentiated cell and presence of at least one cervical cell which exhibits the expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker in the same cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0017] According to some embodiments of the invention, the presence of at least one cervical cell having the abnormal morphology, presence of at least one cervical cell which is identified as a non- or less-differentiated cell and presence of at least one cervical cell which exhibits the expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker in the same cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0018] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical tissue section, the method comprising: (i) contacting the cervical tissue section with a Ficus elastics plant extract, (ii) staining the cervical tissue section with New Fuchsin, and (iii) staining the cervical tissue section with Light Green or Fast green, thereby staining the cervical tissue section.
[0019] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical smear, comprising: (i) contacting the cervical smear with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and (ii) staining the cervical smear with New Fuchsin, and (iii) staining the cervical smear with Light Green or Fast green, thereby staining the cervical smear.
[0020] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical cell monolayer, comprising: (i) contacting the cervical cell monolayer with a Ficus elastics plant extract, (ii) staining the cervical cell monolayer with New Fuchsin, and (iii) staining the cervical cell monolayer with Light Green or Fast green, thereby staining the cervical cell monolayer.
[0021] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical tissue sample, comprising: (a) deparaffinizing the cervical tissue sample in xylene, and subsequently (b) washing the cervical tissue sample in ethanol, and subsequently (c) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently (d) staining the cervical tissue sample with Hematoxylin, and subsequently (e) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently (f) contacting the cervical tissue sample with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and subsequently (g) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently (h) staining the cervical tissue sample with New Fuchsin, and subsequently (i) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently (j) incubating the cervical tissue sample in an ethanol solution, and subsequently (k) staining the cervical tissue sample with Light Green or Fast green, and subsequently (l) washing the cervical tissue sample with water, thereby staining the cervical tissue sample.
[0022] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical smear, comprising: (a) fixing the cervical smear in a solution of Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and subsequently (b) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently (c) staining the cervical smear with Hematoxylin, and subsequently (d) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently (e) contacting the cervical smear with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and subsequently (f) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently (g) incubating the cervical smear with a New Fuchsin solution, and subsequently (h) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently (i) incubating the cervical smear in an ethanol solution, and subsequently (j) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently (k) staining the cervical smear with Light Green or Fast Green, and subsequently (l) washing the cervical smear with water, thereby staining the cervical smear.
[0023] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of staining a cervical cell monolayer, comprising: (a) fixing the cervical cell monolayer in a solution of Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and subsequently (b) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently (c) staining the cervical cell monolayer with Hematoxylin, and subsequently (d) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently (e) contacting the cervical cell monolayer with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and subsequently (f) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently (g) staining the cervical cell monolayer with New Fuchsin, and subsequently (h) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently (i) incubating the cervical cell monolayer in an ethanol solution, and subsequently (j) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently (k) staining the cervical cell monolayer with Light Green or Fast Green, and subsequently (l) washing the cervical cell monolayer with water, and subsequently (m) washing the cervical cell monolayer in an ethanol solution, and subsequently (n) washing the cervical cell monolayer with water, thereby staining the cervical cell monolayer.
[0024] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising detecting an expression level of a cervical malignant marker or a cervical pre-malignant marker in at least one cervical cell of the cervical cell sample, the cervical smear, the cervical tissue section or the cervical cell monolayer, wherein an expression level above a pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant marker or of the cervical pre-malignant marker is indicative that the at least one cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell, respectively, thereby identifying the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant cell.
[0025] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a method of diagnosing a pre-malignant or a malignant cervical tumor in a subject, comprising (a) staining a cervical cell sample of the subject according to the method of the invention, to thereby obtain a stained cervical cell sample, (b) identifying at least one cervical cell of the cervical cell sample having a red cytoplasm above a pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold is indicative of a non- or less-differentiated cell as compared to a normal cervical cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0026] According to some embodiments of the invention, wherein presence of at least one cervical cell which is identified as a non- or less-differentiated cell according to the method of some embodiments of the invention and at least one cervical cell which exhibits the expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker according to the method of some embodiments of the invention in the same cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0027] According to some embodiments of the invention, wherein presence of at least one cervical cell having the abnormal morphology according to the method of some embodiments of the invention, at least one cervical cell which is identified as a non- or less-differentiated cell according to the method of some embodiments of the invention and at least one cervical cell which exhibits the expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker according to the method of some embodiments of the invention in the same cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0028] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising digesting mucin in the cervical cell sample, the cervical smear, the cervical cell monolayer or the cervical tissue section with an enzyme prior to the staining with the New Fuchsin.
[0029] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising staining the cervical cell sample, the cervical smear, the cervical cell monolayer or the cervical tissue section with an agent which differentially stains mucin in a color distinguishable from the color obtained by staining with New Fuchsin, light green and fast green.
[0030] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising mounting the stained cervical cell sample, cervical smear, cervical cell monolayer or cervical tissue section with a mounting medium which comprises an anti-oxidant.
[0031] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a kit for staining cervical cell sample and/or diagnosing a cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor, comprising a packaging material packaging a Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, and Light Green.
[0032] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the present invention there is provided a kit for staining cervical cell sample and/or diagnosing a cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor, comprising a packaging material packaging a Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, and Fast Green.
[0033] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising staining the cervical cell sample with Hematoxylin.
[0034] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising staining the cervical tissue section with Hematoxylin.
[0035] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising staining the cervical smear with Rematoxylin.
[0036] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising staining the cervical cell monolayer with Hematoxylin.
[0037] According to some embodiments of the invention, step (i) is effected prior to step (iii).
[0038] According to some embodiments of the invention, step (i) is effected prier to step (ii).
[0039] According to some embodiments of the invention, the contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract is effected prior to staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green.
[0040] According to some embodiments of the invention, the contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract is effected prior to staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin.
[0041] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising: (c) analyzing a morphology of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of an abnormal morphology in the cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold as compared to a morphology of a normal cervical cell is indicative of the pre-malignant or malignant cervical tumor.
[0042] According to some embodiments of the invention, the pre-malignant cervical tumor is selected from the group consisting of an intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), a squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL).
[0043] According to some embodiments of the invention, the malignant cervical tumor is selected from the group consisting of carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinoma.
[0044] According to some embodiments of the invention, the invasive carcinoma is selected from the group consisting of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and adenocarcinoma.
[0045] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell sample is selected from the group consisting of a cervical tissue-section, a cervical smear and a cervical cell monolayer.
[0046] According to some embodiments of the invention, the staining with the Hematoxylin is effected prior to the contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract.
[0047] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising fixing the cervical sample, cervical smear or cervical cell monolayer prior to the contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract.
[0048] According to some embodiments of the invention, the fixing is effected using a fixative selected from the group consisting of Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), ethanol and methanol.
[0049] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker is selected from the group consisting of ki67 antigen (antigen identified by monoclonal antibody Ki-67), Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1alpha), Id-1 (Inhibitor of differentiation/DNA binding-1), p16INK4a (Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A), p21WAF1/CIP1, Tn antigen (Tn-Ag), P53 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA).
[0050] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical monolayer is devoid of blood cells.
[0051] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical monolayer is a ThinPrep™ sample.
[0052] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical monolayer is a liquid based cytology sample.
[0053] According to some embodiments of the invention, the Ficus elastics plant extract is selected from the group consisting of a crude Ficus elastics plant extract, C23H44O4 and proanthocyanidins.
[0054] According to some embodiments of the invention, the kit further comprising instructions for use in staining cervical cell sample and/or diagnosing a cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor in a subject.
[0055] According to some embodiments of the invention, detecting the expression level of the cervical malignant or the cervical pre-malignant marker is performed using a high affinity agent.
[0056] According to some embodiments of the invention, the high affinity agent is an antibody which specifically binds to the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker.
[0057] According to some embodiments of the invention, the high affinity agent is a polynucleotide selected from the group consisting of a polynucleotide which specifically hybridizes to an RNA encoding the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker and a polynucleotide which specifically amplifies the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker.
[0058] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and/or scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of embodiments of the invention, exemplary methods and/or materials are described below. In case of conflict, the patent specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and are not intended to be necessarily limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0059] The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.
[0060] Some embodiments of the invention are herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of embodiments of the invention. In this regard, the description taken with the drawings makes apparent to those skilled in the art how embodiments of the invention may be practiced.
[0061] In the drawings:
[0062] FIGS. 1A-B are images of normal cervical biopsy histological sections depicting epithelia cells stained by the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIG. 1A) or by H&E staining (FIG. 1B). Note the blue/green cytoplasm in FIG. 1A, which is the diagnostic cellular compartment of the staining method of the invention.
[0063] FIGS. 2A-B are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN2) stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIG. 2A) or H&E staining (FIG. 2B).
[0064] FIGS. 3A-B are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIG. 3A) or by H&E staining (FIG. 3B).
[0065] FIGS. 4A-D are images of cervical smears obtained from a patient with cervical cancer and stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 2 (FIGS. 4A-B) or by Pap staining (FIGS. 4C-D). FIGS. 4A and C—Objective magnification ×20. FIGS. 4B and D—Objective magnification ×4. It should be noted that in all microscopical images presented herein the ocular magnification was ×10. FIGS. 4A-B, the arrow in each panel points at the squamous cell carcinoma cell (same cell in two different magnifications).
[0066] FIGS. 5A-D are images of cervical ThinPrep™ samples obtained from a patient with cervical cancer and stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 3 (FIGS. 5A and C) or by Pap staining (FIGS. 5B and D). The cervical cell monolayer preparations contain cells with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (FIGS. 5A, B, see arrows pointing at high-grade SIL (HSIL″) as well as low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (FIGS. 5C, D, see arrows pointing at low-grade SIL (LSIL). Color of cytoplasm in cells in Pap preparation is variable and does not correlate with cytomorphology. In samples stained by the method of the invention the cytoplasm of normal cells stains green, whereas atypical cells have reddish cytoplasm.
[0067] FIGS. 6A-F are images of cervical ThinPrep™ samples obtained from a healthy (normal control) subject and stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 3 (FIGS. 6A, B, C) or by Pap staining (FIGS. 6D, E, F). FIGS. 6A and D—Objective magnification ×4; FIGS. 6B and E—Objective magnification ×20; FIGS. 6C and F—Objective magnification ×40. The cervical cell monolayer preparation contains only normal cells. Color of cytoplasm in Pap preparation is variable as seen in the various magnifications. In the samples stained according to the staining method of the invention the cytoplasm of normal cells stains green, with a uniform pattern as seen in the different magnifications. Arrows in FIG. 6C point at normal superficial squamous cells.
[0068] FIGS. 7A-F are images of cervical ThinPrep™ samples depicting low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions stained by the staining method of some embodiments of the invention as described in Example 3 (FIGS. 7A, B, C; Arrows in FIGS. 7B and 7C point low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions cells) or by Pap staining (FIGS. 7D, E, F; Arrows in FIGS. 7E and 7F point low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions cells). FIGS. 7A and D—Objective magnification ×4; FIGS. 7B and E—Objective magnification ×20; FIGS. 7C and F—Objective magnification ×40. Color of cytoplasm in cells stained by Pap staining is variable and does not correlate with cytomorphology. Identification of atypical cells in the Pap stained slide is possible only at high (×20) Objective magnification. In samples stained according to the staining method of the invention the cytoplasm of normal cells stains green, whereas atypical cells have reddish cytoplasm. Moreover, as normal cells stain typically green, identification of suspected red stained cells is available even at low (×4) Objective magnification, and is confirmed by morphological analysis at a higher magnification. Note how easily the low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions cells are visible and detected in a cervical cell monolayer stained according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention.
[0069] FIGS. 8A-D are images of normal cervical biopsy histological sections stained according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIGS. 8A and B) or by H&E staining (FIGS. 8C and D). Slides stained according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention exhibit homogeneous green staining of normal cervical epithelia as seen at low Objective magnification (×10; FIG. 8A) and high Objective magnification (×40; FIG. 8B). High magnification shows clear morphological features, comparable to H&E staining (FIG. 8C, ×10 Objective magnification; FIG. 8D, ×40 Objective magnification).
[0070] FIGS. 9A-D are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting SCC stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIGS. 9A and B; note squamous cell carcinoma cells marked by black arrows in FIG. 9B) or by H&E staining (FIGS. 9C and D). Note that in slides stained according to the staining method of the invention the entire invading epithelium containing red stained cells is seen at low Objective magnification (×4, FIG. 9A) with clear morphological features at high Objective magnification (×40, FIG. 9B). The parallel H&E stained slide (FIG. 9C, ×4 Objective magnification; and FIG. 9D, ×40 Objective magnification) confirms correct diagnosis.
[0071] FIGS. 10A-D are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting high-grade CIN3 dysplasia stained by the staining method of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIGS. 10A and B) or by H&E staining (FIGS. 10C and D). Slides stained according to the method of the invention show entire epithelium containing red stained cells at low Objective magnification (×10 Objective magnification, FIG. 10A) with clear morphological features at high Objective magnification (×40 Objective magnification, FIG. 10B; note dysplastic cells of CIN3 shown by black arrows in FIG. 10b). The parallel H&E stained slide (FIG. 10C, ×10 Objective magnification; FIG. 10D, ×40 Objective magnification) confirms correct diagnosis.
[0072] FIGS. 11A-D are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting middle-grade CIN2 dysplasia region stained according to the staining method of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIGS. 11A and B) or by H&E staining (FIGS. 11C and D). Slides stained according to the staining method of the invention show red cells predominating the epithelial region at low magnification (×10 Objective magnification, FIG. 11A). A clear transition from red (abnormal) to blue (normal) cytoplasmic cell staining is seen at the outer layer of the epithelium using high magnification (×40 Objective magnification, FIG. 11B; note dysplastic cells of CIN2 shown by a black arrow), enabling correct grading. Parallel H&E stained slide (FIG. 11C, ×10 Objective magnification; and FIG. 11D, ×40 Objective magnification) confirms correct diagnosis.
[0073] FIGS. 12A-D are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting low-grade CIN1 dysplasia stained according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIGS. 12A and B) or by H&E staining (FIGS. 12C and D). Slides stained according to the staining method of the invention show red staining of cells extending the basal region, evident at low Objective magnification (×10, FIG. 12A) and high Objective magnification (×40, FIG. 12B; note dysplastic cells as opposed to normal squamous cells in FIG. 12B). Transition from Red (abnormal) to blue (normal) cells enables correct grading. Parallel H&E stained slide (FIG. 12C, ×10 Objective magnification; and FIG. 12D, ×40 Objective magnification) confirms correct diagnosis.
[0074] FIGS. 13A-D are images of cervical biopsy histological sections depicting low-grade CIN1 dysplasia stained according to the staining method of the invention as described in Example 1 (FIGS. 13A and B) or by H&E staining (FIGS. 13C and D). Slides stained according to the staining method of the invention show red staining of cells extending the basal region, evident at low Objective magnification (×10, FIG. 13A) and high Objective magnification (×40, FIG. 13B; note dysplastic cells as opposed to normal squamous cells in FIG. 13B). Transition from Red (abnormal) to blue (normal) cells enables correct grading. In the parallel H&E stained region (FIG. 13C, ×10 Objective magnification; and FIG. 13D, ×40 Objective magnification), these subtle changes are not easily detected and can be frequently misdiagnosed.
[0075] FIG. 14 is an image of a conventional cervical smear stained according to the method described in Example 4 of the Examples section which follows. Note that normal superficial cervical cells are stained in green color. Cluster of low grade dysplasia cells (LSIL) also present. LSIL cells have red nuclear color, and pink cytoplasm. Objective magnification ×20.
[0076] FIG. 15 is an image of a conventional cervical smear stained according to the method described in Example 4 of the Examples section which follows. Note that normal superficial cervical cells are stained in green color. Cluster of high grade dysplasia cells (HSIL) also present. HSIL cells have red nuclear color, and pink cytoplasm. Objective magnification ×20.
[0077] FIG. 16 is an image of a conventional cervical smear stained according to the method described in Example 4 of the Examples section which follows. Note the cluster of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells present in the smear. Cells of SCC have red nuclear color, and pink cytoplasm. Objective magnification ×20.
[0078] FIG. 17 is an image of a liquid-base cervical monolayer cell sample (ThinPrep™) stained according to the method described in Example 5 of the Examples section which follows in which Fast green is used instead of light green. Note the cluster of high grade dysplasia cells (HSIL) present in the sample. The HSIL cells have red nuclear color, and pink cytoplasm. Objective magnification ×40.
[0079] FIG. 18 is an image of endocervical cells obtained from a ThinPrep™ slide and stained according to the method of some embodiments of the invention. Note the typical morphological characteristics of endocervical cells. Objective magnification ×40.
[0080] FIG. 19 is a diagram schematically illustrating the study described in Example 1 of the Examples section which follows. Cervical tissue section samples were subject to histological evaluation using the H&E staining and the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention. Each stained slide was reviewed by two independent expert pathologists and then the diagnosis by both methods was compared.
[0081] FIG. 20 is a diagram schematically depicting the study described in Example 3 of the Examples section which follows. Patients were invited to the colposcopy clinic to follow up on a suspicious Pap test. From each patient a tissue biopsy was retrieved for the preparation of a histological slide (stained with H&E) and a liquid base cervical sample was retrieved for the preparation of ThinPrep™ slides and for HPV test (in liquid). The ThinPrep™ slides were subject to staining according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention and to staining according to Papanicolaou stain. The results of all tests was then compared.
[0082] FIG. 21 is a prior art photograph showing endocervical cells stained with Papanicolaou stain (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 12).
[0083] FIG. 22 is a prior art photograph showing ASC-US cells [conventional smear preparation (CP)] stained with Papanicolaou stain (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 70).
[0084] FIG. 23 is a prior art photograph showing low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion [LSIL, conventional preparation (CP)] stained with Papanicolaou stain (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 92).
[0085] FIG. 24 is a prior art photograph showing high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL, CP, conventional preparation) stained with Papanicolaou stain (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 101).
[0086] FIG. 25 is a prior art photograph showing squamous cell carcinoma keratinizing cells [Liquid-base preparation (LBP)] stained with Papanicolaou stain (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 117).
[0087] FIG. 26 is a prior art photograph showing squamous cell carcinoma non-keratinizing cells [conventional smear preparation (CP)] stained with Papanicolaou stain (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 117).
[0088] FIG. 27 is a prior art photograph showing CIN3 cells stained with Hematoxylin-Eosine (H&E) stain (histology, tissue section) (Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004, Page 101).
[0089] FIG. 28 is a photograph of a histological tissue section stained by H&E and demonstrating presence of CIN2 dysplastic cells.
[0090] FIG. 29 is a photograph of a histological tissue section stained by H&E and demonstrating presence of non-keratinizing SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) cells.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0091] The present invention, in some embodiments thereof, relates to methods and kits for differential staining of cervical cancer cells and use thereof in diagnosing cervical cancer.
[0092] Before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited in its application to the details set forth in the following description or exemplified by the Examples. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways.
[0093] The present inventors have uncovered a novel method of differentially staining cervical cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.
[0094] As shown in the Examples section which follows, using the novel method of the invention cancerous or pre-cancerous cells are differentially stained in cervical biological samples such as cervical tissue sections (Example 1, FIGS. 1A-B, 2A-B, 3A-B, 8A-D, 9A-D, 10A-D, 11A-D, 12A-D, 13A-D and 19, and Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6), conventional cervical smears (Example 2, FIGS. 4A-D and Tables 7 and 8) or liquid-based, cell monolayer cervical samples (e.g., ThinPrep™ slides; FIGS. 20, 5A-D, 6A-F, 7A-F and Tables 9 and 10). For example, while the cytoplasm of pre-malignant cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia at grade 1 (CIN1; FIGS. 12A-B), 2 (CIN2l FIGS. 11A-B) or 3 (CIN3; FIGS. 10A-B), or of SCC (FIGS. 9A-B) are stained in red, the cytoplasm of normal cervical cells are stained in green (FIGS. 1A-B). Moreover, since the novel staining method of some embodiments of the invention preserves the characteristics morphology of the cells in the sample, it enables correct grading of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cells (FIGS. 11A-D). In addition, the method of the invention was found to be superior over the conventional Pap staining in screening of cervical smears since it enables detection of cancerous cells even at low magnification (e.g., using an Objective magnification of ×4), which does not allow any distinction between cancerous cells in conventional Pap stained cervical smears (Example 2, FIGS. 4A-D) and it exhibits an increased sensitivity as compared to Papanicolaou staining and an increased specificity as compared to HPV testing (Table 10; Example 3). Furthermore, as is shown in Example 3 of the Examples section which follows, using the novel method of some embodiments of the invention, the present inventors have correctly diagnosed low-grade (FIGS. 7A-F) or high-grade (FIGS. 5A-B) squamous intraepithelial lesions in liquid-based ThinPrep™ samples, demonstrating the robust screening power of the method of the invention in diagnosing and staging cervical cancer using non-invasive methods. In addition, as described in Example 4 and shown in FIGS. 14-16, the present inventors were capable of identifying low grade dysplasia cells (LSIL), high grade dysplasia cells (HSIL) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) using conventional cervical smears stained according to the novel staining method of some embodiments of the invention. Moreover, as shown in FIG. 17 and described in Example 5, using the novel combination of staining with Ficus extract, New Fuchsin and Fast Green the present inventors were capable of identifying high grade dysplasia cells (HSIL) in a liquid-based cervical monolayer sample.
[0095] Thus, according to an aspect of some embodiments of the invention, there is provided a method of staining a cervical cell sample. The method is effected by (i) contacting the cervical cell sample with a Ficus elastics plant extract, (ii) staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin, and (iii) staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green, thereby staining the cervical cell sample.
[0096] As used herein the phrase “cervical cell” refers to a single cell or a plurality of cells isolated from the cervix. Single cells or aggregates can be used.
[0097] The cervical cell sample can be any biological sample which comprises cervical cells, cervical cell-lines, primary cultures of cervical cells or uncultured cellular samples which are obtained from a tissue biopsy (an incisional biopsy, an excisional biopsy or a complete resection), or using semi- or non-invasive sampling methods such as retrieving cells from the cervix, external part of the cervix and/or from endocervical canal using a collection device such as a brush, a cervical wash or lavage.
[0098] According to some embodiments of the invention the cervical cell sample comprises a cervical epithelial cell.
[0099] Non-limiting examples of cervical epithelial cells include squamous, glandular, and metaplastic epithelial cells. The squamous cells are derived from ectocervix and the vagina; the glandular cells are derived from the endocervix; metaplastic cells are derived from the transformation zone of the cervix.
[0100] It should be noted that the cervical cell sample may also comprise endocervical cells.
[0101] According to some embodiments of the invention identification and/or classification of the cells (to the different cell types) present in the cervical cell sample is performed by morphological evaluation of the cells based on known morphological characteristics, which are further described hereinbelow.
[0102] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell sample is a cervical tissue section (e.g., a paraffin tissue section, a frozen tissue, a cryosection obtained from a cervical tissue biopsy), a cervical smear or a cervical cell monolayer (e.g., liquid-based sample such as the ThinPrep™ sample).
[0103] As used herein the phrase “cervical tissue section” refers to a section of a cervical tissue having a thickness of about 1-200 microns.
[0104] According to some embodiments of the invention, the tissue section has a thickness of about 2 microns to about 50 microns, e.g., from about 2 microns to about 20 microns, e.g., about 2 microns to about 10 microns, e.g., about 4-5 microns, e.g., 4 microns.
[0105] As used herein the phrase “cervical smear” refers to a crude cell sample of the cervix which is pasted on a microscopic slide without any purification.
[0106] As used herein the phrase “cervical cell monolayer” refers to a cell sample of the cervix which forms a single layer of cervical cells on a microscopic-slide.
[0107] According to specific embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer does not comprise immune cells.
[0108] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical monolayer is devoid of red blood cells.
[0109] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical monolayer is devoid of any blood cell.
[0110] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical monolayer comprises cervical cells which do not overlap on each other when placed on a slide, thus each cell has clear cell boundaries and a clear microscopic view of each cell is obtained.
[0111] The cervical cell sample can include homogeneous or heterogeneous populations of cells (e.g., cells of different differentiation states). Typically, the cervical cell sample comprises heterogeneous populations of cells.
[0112] For example, cervical cell sample may comprise malignant or pre-malignant cells as well as normal healthy cells. Alternatively, cervical cell sample may comprise metabolically normal and metabolically impaired cells. Additionally or alternatively, cervical cell sample may comprise inflammatory cells, pre-malignant, malignant and/or normal, healthy cells.
[0113] According to presently preferred configurations, the cervical cell sample is placed on a microscopic slide. Methods of attaching cells to microscopic slides are well known in the art, and include, for example, layering cells of the microscopic slides, centrifuging the cells on the slide (e.g., using a cytospin), mounting tissue sections on the slides (e.g., using paraffin-embedded sections), or smearing cells over a microscopic slide. The microscopic slides which include the cervical cell sample can be used per-se or can be pre-coated with agents which increase the adhesiveness of the cells to the slide (e.g., poly-L-lysine or silane). The slides can be heated, frozen or subjected to certain wave-length (e.g., U.V.) in order to increase adhesiveness of the cells to the slide.
[0114] It should be noted that depending on the sample used, the cervical cell sample can be fixed with a fixative prior to staining. Methods of fixing cells are well known in the art, and include the used of fixatives such as paraformaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, acetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and the like.
[0115] As used herein the term “staining” refers to visually highlighting cells or subcellular structures thereof.
[0116] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining of the cervical cell sample is performed using staining agents and conditions which enable differential staining of pre-malignant or malignant cervical cancer cells as opposed to normal (healthy) or inflammatory cells.
[0117] As used herein the phrase “differential staining” refers to staining a specific cell compartment (e.g., cytoplasm) of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cell with a certain color, while leaving the same cell compartment of other (e.g., normal or inflammatory cells) cervical cells in the sample unstained.
[0118] As mentioned, for staining the cervical cell sample, the sample is contacted with a Ficus elastics plant extract.
[0119] As used herein the phrase “Ficus elastics plant extract” refers to at least the active ingredients of the plant [e.g., flavinoids in an oligomeric form (which may comprise 2-10 mers, e.g., C26H32O15) or a polymeric form, C23H44O4 or proanthocyanidins], or a crude plant extract, as long as its characteristic staining abilities are maintained.
[0120] The Ficus elastics plant extract may be prepared from various portions of the plant e.g., leaves. Guidelines for extract preparation from leaves are provided in the experimental details section of Example 1 of the Examples section which follows.
[0121] According to some embodiments of the invention, the Ficus elastics plant extract of the invention is a crude ethanol extract of the Ficus elastics plant. The ethanol extract of the Ficus elastics plant can include about 10% (v/v ethanol in water), about 20%, about 30%, about 40%, about 50% ethanol, about 60% ethanol, about 70% ethanol, about 80% ethanol about 90% ethanol or about 100% ethanol. Measures should be taken however not to over dilute the extract, as this may affect the subsequent staining.
[0122] Contacting the cervical cell sample with the Ficus elastics plant extract can be performed by applying the Ficus elastics plant extract on the cervical cell sample, or by dipping, soaking and/or incubating the cervical cell sample in a vessel containing same.
[0123] According to some embodiments of the invention, contacting the cervical cell sample with the Ficus elastics plant extract is effected for a time period which enables pre-conditioning of cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells such that will be differentially stained by the subsequent staining with New Fuchsin.
[0124] According to some embodiments of the invention, contacting the cervical cell sample with the Ficus elastics plant extract is performed for at least about 1 minute, e.g., for about 2 minutes, e.g., for about 2-20 minutes, e.g., for about 2-10 minutes, e.g., for about 2-6 minutes, e.g., for about 2-4 minutes.
[0125] As mentioned, the method according to this aspect of the invention comprises staining the cervical cell sample with the basic dye New Fuchsin.
[0126] According to some embodiments of the invention, the New Fuchsin stains the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells (undifferentiated cells), which were pre-conditioned with the Ficus elastics plant extract, with a red color, while leaving the other cells (normal, differentiated cells) unstained.
[0127] According to some embodiments of the invention, the New Fuchsin stains the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells (undifferentiated cells), which were pre-conditioned with the Ficus elastics plant extract and stained with Fast or Light Green, with a red color, while leaving the other cells (normal, differentiated cells) unstained.
[0128] According to some embodiments of the invention, New Fuchsin stains the cytoplasm of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells (undifferentiated cells), which were pre-conditioned with the Ficus elastics plant extract, with a red color, while leaving the cytoplasms in the other cells (normal, differentiated cells) unstained in red.
[0129] According to some embodiments of the invention, New Fuchsin stains the cytoplasm of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells (undifferentiated cells), which were pre-conditioned with the Ficus elastics plant extract and stained with Fast or Light Green, with a red color, while leaving the cytoplasms in the other cells (normal, differentiated cells) unstained in red.
[0130] According to some embodiments of the invention, New Fuchsin stains the nucleus of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells (undifferentiated cells), which were pre-conditioned with the Ficus elastics plant extract, with a red color.
[0131] According to some embodiments of the invention, the New Fuchsin stains the nucleus of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells (undifferentiated cells), which were pre-conditioned with the Ficus elastics plant extract, with a red color, while leaving the nucleus of the other cells (normal, differentiated cells) unstained in red (e.g., stained in a color other than red).
[0132] According to some embodiments of the invention, presence of a red nucleus-indicates that the cell is suspicious of being cancerous or pre-malignant. In such cases, the subsequent morphological evaluation of the cell may confirm the identification of the cell and assists in the diagnosis of the cancer or the pre-malignant lesion in the subject.
[0133] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining with New Fuchsin is performed subsequently to contacting the cervical cell sample with the Ficus elastics plant extract.
[0134] New Fuchsin is available as powder from various manufacturers such as Sigma (Cat. No. N0638), Fluka (Cat. No. 72200) or Merck (Cat. No. 1052260100).
[0135] New Fuchsin can be used at a concentration of at least about 0.05% [weight per volume (w/v)], at least about 0.1% (w/v), at least about 0.2% (w/v), at least about 0.3% (w/v), at least about 0.4% (w/v), e.g., about 0.5% (w/v), e.g., about 0.6% (w/v), e.g., about 0.7% (w/v).
[0136] The New Fuchsin solution can be based on an ethanol solution such as about 5% ethanol, about 10% ethanol, about 15% ethanol, about 20% ethanol, about 25% ethanol, about 30% ethanol, about 35% ethanol, about 40% ethanol, about 50% ethanol.
[0137] According to some embodiments of the invention, the concentration of the New Fuchsin used by some embodiments of the invention is about 0.5% (w/v) in a solution of 20% [volume per volume (v/v)] Ethanol in water.
[0138] Staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin can be performed by applying the New Fuchsin on the cervical cell sample, or by dipping, soaking and/or incubating the cervical cell sample in a vessel containing same.
[0139] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin is effected for a time period which enables differential staining of cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells by New Fuchsin.
[0140] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining the cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin is performed for at least 5 seconds, e.g., at least about 10 seconds, e.g., at least about 1 minute, e.g., about 1-10 minutes.
[0141] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising digesting the mucin in the cervical cell sample (e.g., the cervical smear, the cervical cell monolayer or the cervical tissue section) with an enzyme prior to staining with the New Fuchsin.
[0142] According to some embodiments of the invention, the enzyme which digests mucin is selected from the group consisting of neuroaminidase (α(2→3,6) Neuraminidase; Sigma Catalogue number N5521, Sigma-Aldrich Israel Ltd. REHOVOT ISRAEL), mucinase and sialidase (Howe, L., International Journal of STD & AIDS, Volume 10, Number 7, Pp. 442-447, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety).
[0143] According to some embodiments of the invention, digesting mucin can be performed prior to fixing the cells in the sample.
[0144] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising staining the cervical cell sample (e.g., the cervical smear, the cervical cell monolayer or the cervical tissue section) with an agent which differentially stains mucin in a color which is distinguishable from the color obtained by staining with New Fuchsin, Light green and Fast green.
[0145] According to some embodiments of the invention, the agent is a positively charged molecule which can bind to a negatively charged mucin. Such an agent can be, for example, Alcian blue binds to acid mucopolysaccharides. It should be noted that at an acid pH (e.g., pH of 2.5), Alcian blue stains both sulfated (sulphomucins) and carboxylated (sialomucins) mucopolysacchrides.
[0146] It should be noted that in cases where the cervical cell sample contains aggregates of cells, e.g., cell clumping of more than 10 cells, e.g., clumps of about 10-20 cells, the dyes used in the staining method are washed less efficiently.
[0147] As mentioned, the method according to this aspect of the invention comprises staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green.
[0148] Light Green is an acidic dye which stains the cytoplasm of differentiated cells (e.g., normal cells) with green.
[0149] Fast green is an acidic dye which stains the cytoplasm of differentiated cells (e.g., normal cells) with green. The advantage of using Fast green is that the dye is more stable and does not fade out.
[0150] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining with Light Green or Fast Green is performed subsequently to staining with New Fuchsin.
[0151] Light Green is available in a powder from various manufacturers such as Merck (C.I. 42095) or Sigma (Cat. No. 62110). Fast green is available from Sigma-Aldrich (F7258) in a form of a powder.
[0152] Light Green can be used at a concentration of at least about 0.05% (w/v), at least about 0.1% (w/v), at least about 0.2% (w/v), at least about 0.4% (w/v), at least about 0.8% (w/v), at least about 1% (w/v), at least about 2% (w/v), at least about 3% (w/v), at least about 4% (w/v), at least about 5% (w/v), at least about 6% (w/v), at least about 7% (w/v), at least about 8% (w/v), at least about 9% (w/v), at least about 10% (w/v), at least about 11% (w/v), at least about 12% (w/v), at least about 13% (w/v), at least about 14% (w/v), at least about 15% (w/v), at least about 16% (w/v), at least about 17% (w/v), at least about 18% (w/v), at least about 19% (w/v), at least about 20% (w/v). The Light Green solution can be based on water or an ethanol solution such as from about 0.01% ethanol, about 5% ethanol, about 10% ethanol, about 15% ethanol, about 20% ethanol, about 25% ethanol, about 30% ethanol, about 35% ethanol, about 40% ethanol, about 50% ethanol, about 70% ethanol.
[0153] According to some embodiments of the invention, the Light Green which is used by the method of the invention is about 4% (w/v) in 20% Ethanol.
[0154] Fast Green can be used at a concentration of at least about 0.05% (w/v), at least about 0.1% (w/v), at least about 0.2% (w/v), at least about 0.4% (w/v), at least about 0.8% (w/v), at least about 1% (w/v), at least about 2% (w/v), at least about 3% (w/v), at least about 4% (w/v), at least about 5% (w/v), at least about 6% (w/v), at least about 7% (w/v), at least about 8% (w/v), at least about 9% (w/v), at least about 10% (w/v), at least about 11% (w/v), at least about 12% (w/v), at least about 13% (w/v), at least about 14% (w/v), at least about 15% (w/v), at least about 16% (w/v), at least about 17% (w/v), at least about 18% (w/v), at least about 19% (w/v), at least about 20% (w/v). The Fast Green solution can be based on water or an ethanol solution such as from about 0.01% ethanol, about 5% ethanol, about 10% ethanol, about 15% ethanol, about 20% ethanol, about 25% ethanol, about 30% ethanol, about 35% ethanol, about 40% ethanol, about 50% ethanol, about 70% ethanol.
[0155] According to some embodiments of the invention, the Fast Green which is used by the method of the invention is about 1% (w/v) in 20% Ethanol.
[0156] Staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green can be performed by applying the Light Green or the Fast green on the cervical cell sample, or by dipping, soaking and/or incubating the cervical cell sample in a vessel containing same.
[0157] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green is effected for a time period which enables differential staining of normal cervical cells (differentiated cells) in green.
[0158] According to some embodiments of the invention, staining the cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green is performed for at least 10 seconds, e.g., at least about 30 seconds, e.g., at least about 1 minute, e.g., about 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
[0159] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method of an aspect of some embodiments of the invention further comprising staining the cervical cell sample with Hematoxylin.
[0160] Staining the cervical cell sample with Hematoxylin is performed in order to counterstain the nucleic of the cervical cells in the sample. It should be noted that counterstaining of the cell nucleic with a blue increases the contrast of the cytoplasmic stain in the cells, thus facilitates with the detection of the differential staining of the cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells.
[0161] Various Hematoxylin dyes can be used along with the method of the invention, these include, but are not limited to Hematoxylin Harris solution and Hematoxyline Gill III. Hematoxylin is available from various manufacturers such as Merck and Sigma.
[0162] According to some embodiments of the invention, contacting the cervical cell sample with the Ficus elastics plant extract is performed prior to staining cervical cell sample with Light Green or Fast green.
[0163] According to some embodiments of the invention, contacting the cervical cell sample with the Ficus elastics plant extract is performed prior to staining cervical cell sample with New Fuchsin.
[0164] According to some embodiments of the invention, prior to staining, the cervical cell sample (e.g., cervical smear or cervical cell monolayer) is fixed using a fixative.
[0165] Various fixative solutions can be used to fix the cervical cell sample. For example, the fixative can be an ethanol solution, a methanol solution, a Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) solution, paraformaldehyde solution, formalin solution and/or any combination thereof. For example, a combination of methanol and ethanol; a combination of ethanol and TCA; a combination of methanol and TCA; a combination of paraformaldehyde and TCA; a combination of formalin and TCA; a combination of paraformaldehyde and ethanol; a combination of paraformaldehyde and methanol; any combination of three of the abovementioned fixatives; any combination of four of the abovementioned fixatives; and all five fixatives. It should be noted that in each combination of fixative, at least 1% of each fixative is included, e.g., at least 2-5%, e.g., at least 1-10% of each fixative is included.
[0166] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising mounting the stained cervical cell sample (e.g., the cervical smear, cervical cell monolayer or cervical tissue section) with a mounting medium which comprises an anti-oxidant. It should be noted that the use of an anti-oxidant improves the stability of the stain, and prevents fading out of the dye in the stained cells.
[0167] Various known anti-oxidants can be added to the mounting medium. These include but are not limited to, anti-oxidants obtained from an extract of an apple, a wheat, a pomegranate, and the like. Other known anti-oxidants which can be used include Uric acid, Tannic acid, Glutathione, Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT, (Butylated hydroxylanisole (BHA, (Sodium bisulfite, Propyl gallate (PG, (Vitamin C and Vitamin E. The antioxidant can be in a form of a powder, a solution, an extract and/or liquid which is added to the mounting medium.
[0168] Entellan is a non-limiting example of a mounting medium formulation which includes an anti-oxidant (e.g., available from ScienceLab.Com Inc. Houston, Tex., Catalog code: SLM31142; Entellan new, Rapid mounting medium for microscopy, Merck, Product number: 1079610100).
[0169] As mentioned above, the cervical cell sample can be a cervical tissue sample (e.g., a paraffin-embedded or frozen cervical tissue section on a microscopic slide).
[0170] Following is a non-limiting example of a staining method of a cervical tissue sample:
[0171] (a) deparaffinizing the cervical tissue sample in xylene, and subsequently
[0172] (b) washing the cervical tissue sample in ethanol, and subsequently
[0173] (c) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently
[0174] (d) staining the cervical tissue sample with Hematoxylin, and subsequently
[0175] (e) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently
[0176] (f) contacting the cervical tissue sample with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and subsequently
[0177] (g) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently
[0178] (h) staining the cervical tissue sample with New Fuchsin, and subsequently
[0179] (i) washing the cervical tissue sample in water, and subsequently
[0180] (j) incubating the cervical tissue sample in an ethanol solution, and subsequently
[0181] (k) staining the cervical tissue sample with Light Green or Fast green, and subsequently
[0182] (l) washing the cervical tissue sample with water,
[0183] thereby staining the cervical tissue sample.
[0184] When a paraffin embedded cervical tissue section is used, the first step before staining is removing the paraffin from the issue section, which is usually performed using xylene. In case a frozen section is used, there is no need to use xylene. However, if the frozen section is not fixed (prior to being frozen), then a fixation step is preferably included prior to subjecting the cells to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention.
[0185] According to some embodiments of the invention, deparaffinizing the cervical tissue sample can be performed by heating the cervical tissue section slide at a temperature which melts the paraffin, which yet does not harm the morphology of the cells in the tissue section, followed by dissolving of the paraffin in a suitable solvent such as xylene. For example, as described in Example 1 of the Examples section which follows, deparaffinization of the cervical tissue section slide can be performed by heating the slide at 70° C. for about 15 minutes, followed by dipping the cervical tissue section slide in several vessels containing xylene (e.g., 100% xylene), for a few minutes in each vessel (e.g., 1-15 minutes, e.g., about 1-10 minutes, e.g., about 1-5 minutes, e.g., about 3 minutes).
[0186] According to some embodiments of the invention, following incubation with the xylene solution, the cervical tissue section slide is washed in an ethanol solution, which removes the excess of xylem from the tissue section. For example, the cervical tissue section slide can be washed in a vessel containing 100% Ethanol, e.g., by dipping the slide in the ethanol solution several times, e.g., 1-30 times, e.g., about 20 times, e.g., about 5-10 times, each time for a short period (e.g., a few seconds, e.g., about 1-5 seconds, e.g., for 1 second).
[0187] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical tissue section slide is then washed in a solution of ethanol and water, such as 96% ethanol in water, for several times, such as 1-30 dips in 96% ethanol, e.g., about 1-20 dips, e.g., about 1-10 dips, e.g., 10 dips, each for a few seconds (e.g., about 1-5 seconds, e.g., for 1 second).
[0188] According to some embodiments of the invention, to remove excess ethanol from the cervical tissue section slide, the slide is washed in water, e.g., in running distillate water for a short period, such as from about 10 seconds to about 5 minutes, e.g., for about 1-2 minutes, e.g., for about 1 minute.
[0189] According to some embodiments of the invention, to counterstain the cervical cell nuclei, the cervical tissue section slide is stained with Hematoxylin (e.g., Hematoxylin Harris solution) for a staining period of about 10 seconds to about 5 minutes, depending on the quality of the tissue section and its thickness. According to some embodiments of the invention, staining with the Hematoxylin solution is effected for about one minute.
[0190] According to some embodiments of the invention, following staining with Hematoxylin, the cervical tissue section slide is washed in water, e.g., in running distillate water, in order to remove unbound Hematoxylin dye from the tissue section. According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical tissue section slide is washed for about 1 second to about 5 minutes with running water, e.g., for about 1 second to about 1 minute, e.g., for about 1 second to 30 seconds, e.g., for about 1 second to 10 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0191] According to some embodiments of the invention, in order to precondition the cervical tissue section slide for the subsequent differential staining of cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells, the cervical tissue section slide is contacted with the Ficus elastics plant extract solution. Contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract can be effected for at least 1 minute, e.g., for a period of about 1 minute to about 10 minutes, for a period of about 2 minutes to about 8 minutes, e.g., for a period of about 4 minutes to about 6 minutes, e.g., for about 4 minutes.
[0192] According to some embodiments of the invention, following incubation with the Ficus elastics plant extract, the cervical tissue section slide is washed in water, e.g., in running DDW, in order to remove the excess of the Ficus elastics plant extract from the tissue section. The wash in water can be a short wash, such as for about 1-30 seconds, e.g., for about 1-20 seconds, e.g., for about 5-10 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0193] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical tissue section slide is then stained with New Fuchsin by incubating the slides in the New Fuchsin solution for a period of about 1-10 minutes, e.g., for about 2-8 minutes, e.g., for about 2-5 minutes, e.g., for about 2 minutes.
[0194] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical tissue section slide is then washed with water, e.g., with running DDW, in order to remove excess of New Fuchsin dye. Such a wash can be for about 1-20 seconds, e.g., for about 2-15 seconds, e.g., for about 5-10 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0195] According to some embodiments of the invention, following the wash in water, the cervical tissue section slide is washed in an ethanol solution, e.g., a solution of about 20-80% ethanol in water, e.g., a solution of about 30-60% ethanol in water, e.g., a solution of about 40-60% ethanol in water, e.g., in about 50% ethanol in water, for a period of about 10 seconds to about 2 minutes, e.g., for a period of 30-90 seconds, e.g., for about 75 seconds.
[0196] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical tissue section slide is then washed with water, e.g., running DDW, in order to remove excess of ethanol from the cervical tissue section. Washing in water is performed for a short period (e.g., about 1-60 seconds, e.g., about 10-30 seconds, e.g., about 10 seconds).
[0197] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical tissue section slide is then stained with Light Green. Staining with Light Green can be performed by incubating the cervical tissue section slides in the Light Green solution for about 30-120 seconds, e.g., for about 30-60 seconds, e.g., for about 50 seconds.
[0198] According to some embodiments of the invention, following Light Green staining, the cervical tissue section slide is washed in water, in order to remove excess of the Light Green dye from the tissue section. Washing in water can be performed in running water (e.g., running DDW) for a short period, such as for about 1-30 seconds, e.g., for about 5-20 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds. Once stained and washed, the cervical tissue section slides are dried, e.g., by air drying, although other modes of drying are also possible (e.g., drying in an incubator or over a hot plate). Air drying of the slides can last for about 10-60 minutes, e.g., for about 30 minutes.
[0199] According to some embodiments of the invention, prior to microscopical evaluation, the cervical tissue section slide is closed with cover slips by adding a mounting medium such as Entellan.
[0200] As mentioned above, the cervical cell sample can be a cervical smear (e.g., a conventional cervical smear used to date for detecting cervical cancer).
[0201] Following is a non-limiting example of a method of staining the cervical smear:
[0202] (a) fixing the cervical cell monolayer in a solution of Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and subsequently
[0203] (b) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently
[0204] (c) staining the cervical smear with Hematoxylin, and subsequently
[0205] (d) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently
[0206] (e) contacting the cervical smear with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and subsequently
[0207] (f) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently
[0208] (g) incubating the cervical smear with a New Fuchsin solution, and subsequently
[0209] (h) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently
[0210] (i) incubating the cervical smear in an ethanol solution, and subsequently
[0211] (j) washing the cervical smear in water, and subsequently
[0212] (k) staining the cervical smear with Light Green, and subsequently
[0213] (l) washing the cervical smear with water,
[0214] thereby staining the cervical smear.
[0215] According to some embodiments of the invention, fixing the cervical cells comprised in the cervical smear slide is performed by incubating the slide in a solution containing TCA at a concentration in the range of about 5% to about 20%, e.g., at least about 6% and no more than about 20%, e.g., at least about 7% and no more than about 20%, e.g., at least about 8% and no more than about 20%, e.g., at least about 9% and no more than about 20%, e.g., at least about 10% and no more than about 20%, e.g., at least about 6% and no more than about 18%, e.g., at least about 8% and no more than about 16%, e.g., at least about 8% and no more than about 12%, e.g., at least about 10% TCA.
[0216] The incubation time with the TCA fixative can vary from about 10 minutes to about 2 hours, e.g., from about 20 minutes to about 90 minutes, e.g., from about 30 minutes to about 90 minutes, e.g., from about 45 minutes to about 75 minutes, e.g., about 60 minutes.
[0217] Alternatively, fixing the cervical smear slide can be performed in an ethanol or methanol fixative solution. The ethanol fixative solution may comprise from about 70% [volume/volume (v/v)] ethanol to about 100% ethanol, e.g., between about 75-100% ethanol, e.g., between about 80-100% ethanol, e.g., between about 90-100% ethanol, e.g., 100% Ethanol. The methanol fixative solution may comprise about 100% methanol. For fixation of cervical cells, the slide is incubated in the methanol or ethanol fixative solution for a period such as from about 1-30 minutes, e.g., from about 10-25 minutes, e.g., for about 15-20 minutes, e.g., for about 20 minutes.
[0218] According to some embodiments of the invention, to remove the excess of fixative (e.g., TCA, methanol or ethanol) from the cervical smear slide, the slide is washed in water, e.g., in running distillate water, running double distilled water (DDW), or deionized water for a short period, such as from about 1 second to about 5 minutes, e.g., from about 5 seconds to about 3 minutes, e.g., from about 10 seconds to about 5 minutes, e.g., for about 1-2 minutes, e.g., for about 1 minute, e.g., about 10 seconds.
[0219] According to some embodiments of the invention, to counterstain the cervical cell nuclei, the cervical smear slide is stained with Hematoxylin (e.g., Hematoxylin Harris solution, or a modified Hematoxylin solution according to Gill III for microscopy (Merck HX945424 (C.I. 75290)) for a staining period of about 10 seconds to about 20 minutes, e.g., from about 1 minute to about 15 minutes, e.g., for a bout 9 minutes, depending on the quality of the cervical smear slide. According to some embodiments of the invention, staining with the Hematoxylin solution is effected for about 9 minutes.
[0220] According to some embodiments of the invention, following staining with Hematoxylin, the cervical smear slide is washed in water, e.g., in running Tap water, in order to remove unbound Hematoxylin dye from the cervical smear slide. According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical smear slide is washed for about 10 second to about 5 minutes with running Tap water, e.g., for about 20 second to about 4 minute, e.g., for about 1-2 minutes, e.g., for about 2 minutes, e.g., for about 1 minute. According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical smear slide is further washed for about 10 seconds in running DDW, DW or deionized water.
[0221] According to some embodiments of the invention, in order to precondition the cervical smear slide for the subsequent differential staining of cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells, the cervical smear slide is contacted with the Ficus elastics plant extract solution. Contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract can be effected for at least 1 minute, e.g., for a period of about 1 minute to about 10 minutes, e.g., for a period of about 2 minutes to about 8 minutes, e.g., for a period of about 4 minutes to about 6 minutes, e.g., for about 4 minutes.
[0222] According to some embodiments of the invention, following incubation with the Ficus elastics plant extract, the cervical smear slide is washed in water, e.g., in running DDW, DW or deionized water, in order to remove the excess of the Ficus elastics plant extract from the tissue section. The wash in water can be a short wash, such as for about 1-30 seconds, e.g., for about 1-20 seconds, e.g., for about 5-10 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0223] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical smear slide is then stained with New Fuchsin by incubating the slide in a New Fuchsin solution (in ethanol) for a period of about 1-10 minutes, e.g., for about 1-8 minutes, e.g., for about 1-6 minutes, e.g., for about 4 minutes, e.g., for about 1 minute. The concentration of the New Fuchsin in the ethanol solution can be from about 0.1-5% (weight per volume (w/v)) New Fuchsin an ethanol solution of about 5-70% ethanol in water (v/v).
[0224] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical smear slide is then washed with water, e.g., with running DDW, DW or deionized water in order to remove excess of New Fuchsin dye. Such a wash can be for about 1-20 seconds, e.g., for about 2-15 seconds, e.g., for about 5-10 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0225] According to some embodiments of the invention, following the wash in water, the cervical smear slide is washed in an ethanol solution, e.g., a solution of about 5-80% ethanol in water, a solution of about 5-70% ethanol in water, e.g. from about 20-80% ethanol in water, e.g., a solution of about 30-60% ethanol in water, e.g., a solution of about 40-60% ethanol in water, e.g., in about 50% ethanol in water. The wash in the ethanol solution can be performed by incubating in the ethanol solution of by several short dips in the ethanol solution, e.g., about 5-30 dips, e.g., about 10-30 dips, e.g. about 5-20 dips, e.g., about 20 dips, e.g., about 10 times, wherein each dip last for about 1-3 seconds, e.g., for 1 second.
[0226] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical smear slide is then washed with water, e.g., running DDW, DW or deionized water in order to remove excess of ethanol from the cervical smear. Washing in water is performed for a short period (e.g., about 1-60 seconds, e.g., about 10-30 seconds, e.g., about 10 seconds).
[0227] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical smear slide is then stained with Light Green. The light green solution can be in the range of about 0.1-4% (w/v) light green in an ethanol solution of about 0.1-70% ethanol in water (v/v), for example a solution of 0.2% light green in 1% ethanol, e.g., a solution of 4% Light Green in 20% ethanol. Staining with Light Green can be performed by incubating the cervical smear slide in the Light Green solution for about 1-10 minutes, e.g., for about 2-8 minutes, for about 5-6 minutes, e.g., for about 5.5 minutes.
[0228] According to some embodiments of the invention, following Light Green staining, the cervical smear slide is washed in water, in order to remove excess of the Light Green dye from the cervical smear. Washing in water can be performed in running water (e.g., running DDW, DW or deionized water) for a short period, such as for about 1-30 seconds, e.g., for about 5-20 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0229] According to some embodiments of the invention, following the wash in running water, the slides are further washed in an ethanol solution (e.g., a solution in the range of about 5% to about 70%, e.g., about 40% ethanol in water) by several dips, e.g., for about 5 to 20 dips, e.g., about 7 dips) and subsequently washed in running DDW, DW or deioinized water for about 1-20 seconds, e.g., 10 seconds.
[0230] Once stained and washed, the cervical smear slide is dried, e.g., by air drying, for about 10-60 minutes, e.g., for about 30 minutes, mounted with a mounting medium such as Eukitt or Entellan, and covered with cover slips. It should be noted, that before mounting in Entellan, the slides are optionally dipped in 100% xylene (e.g., 1-2 dips) and then covered with Entellan and a coverslip.
[0231] As mentioned above, the cervical cell sample can be a cervical cell monolayer such as a liquid-based cervical monolayer. Methods of preparing liquid-base cervical monolayers include, but are not limited to, the ThinPrep™ method [Hologic] or the SURE PATH™ [Becton Dickinson (BD) 1 Becton Drive, Franklin Lakes, N.J., USA] method.
[0232] Following is a non-limiting example of a method of staining the cervical cell monolayer:
[0233] (a) fixing the cervical cell monolayer in a solution of Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and subsequently
[0234] (b) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently
[0235] (c) staining the cervical cell monolayer with Hematoxylin, and subsequently
[0236] (d) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently
[0237] (e) contacting the cervical cell monolayer with a Ficus elastics plant extract, and subsequently
[0238] (f) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently
[0239] (g) staining the cervical cell monolayer with New Fuchsin, and subsequently
[0240] (h) washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently
[0241] (i) optionally, incubating the cervical cell monolayer in an ethanol solution, and subsequently
[0242] (j) optionally, washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, and subsequently
[0243] (k) staining the cervical cell monolayer with Light Green or Fast green, and subsequently
[0244] (l) washing the cervical cell monolayer with water, and subsequently
[0245] (m) washing the cervical cell monolayer in an ethanol solution, and subsequently
[0246] (n) washing the cervical cell monolayer with water,
[0247] thereby staining the cervical cell monolayer.
[0248] According to some embodiments of the invention, prior to staining, the cervical cell monolayer slide is fixed using a fixative such as Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), e.g., in a solution comprising about 1-20% TCA, e.g., about 5-20% TCA, e.g., about 5-15% TCA, e.g., about 10% TCA. Fixing the cervical cell monolayer slide is effected for about 10 minutes to about 2 hours, e.g., from about 20 minutes to about 2 hours, e.g., for about 1 hour. Following fixation, the cervical cell monolayer slide is washed in water (DDW, DW or deionized water) in order to remove excess of fixative from the cervical cell monolayer sample. The washes (e.g., 2-6 washes, e.g., 4 washes) can be in running deionized water (from both sides of the slide), each for about 2-10 seconds each. The back of the slide can be then dried on paper towel.
[0249] According to some embodiments of the invention, to counterstain the cervical cell nuclei, the cervical cell monolayer slide is stained with Hematoxylin (e.g., Hematoxylin Gill III solution for microscopy, or Hematoxylin Harris) for a staining period of about 1-20 minutes, e.g., about 1-15 minutes, depending on the quality of the cervical cell monolayer slide. According to some embodiments of the invention, staining with the Hematoxylin solution is effected for about 5-15 minutes, e.g., for about 5-10 minutes, e.g., for about 9 minutes.
[0250] According to some embodiments of the invention, in order to remove unbound Hematoxylin dye from the cervical cell monolayer slide, the slide is washed in water, e.g., by incubating the slide in Tap water for about 1 minute, and then by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds [or by dipping 3-6 times (e.g., 4 times, each for about 2 seconds) in running deionized water].
[0251] According to some embodiments of the invention, in order to precondition the cervical cell monolayer slide for the subsequent differential staining of cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cells, the cervical cell monolayer slide is contacted with the Ficus elastics plant extract solution. Contacting with the Ficus elastics plant extract can be effected for at least 1 minute, e.g., for a period of about 1 minute to about 10 minutes, e.g., for a period of about 2 minutes to about 8 minutes, e.g., for a period of about 2 minutes, e.g., for 4 minutes.
[0252] According to some embodiments of the invention, in order to remove the excess of the Ficus elastics plant extract from the cervical cell monolayer, the slide is washed in running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds, or by dipping in DDW, DW or deionized water 4 times, each for about 2 seconds.
[0253] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer slide is then stained with New Fuchsin solution by incubating the slide in the New Fuchsin solution for a period of about 10 seconds to about 5 minutes, e.g., from about 10 seconds to about 3 minutes, e.g., for about 30 seconds to 3 minutes, e.g., for about 1 minute. The New Fuchsin solution can be from about 0.1% to about 5% New Fuchsin (w/v) in an ethanol solution of about 5% to 70% ethanol in water (v/v). According to some embodiments of the invention, the New Fuchsin solution is of 0.5% New Fuchsin in 20% Ethanol.
[0254] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer slide is then washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for about 10 seconds, or dipped for several times (e.g., 3-6 times, e.g., 4 times) with water, e.g., with running deionized water, DDW or DW, in order to remove excess of New Fuchsin dye. Each wash can be for about 1-20 seconds, e.g., for about 2-15 seconds, e.g., for about 5-10 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0255] The cervical cell monolayer slides can be then stained with Fast green or Light green.
[0256] According to some embodiments of the invention, when light green is used, the slides are further washed in an ethanol solution and then in water. According to some embodiments of the invention, when Fast green is used, the slides can be directly subjected to Fast green staining as described below.
[0257] According to some embodiments of the invention, following the wash in water, the cervical cell monolayer slide is washed in an ethanol solution, e.g., a solution of about 20-80% ethanol in water, e.g., a solution of about 30-60% ethanol in water, e.g., a solution of about 40-60% ethanol in water, e.g., in about 50% ethanol in water. The wash in the ethanol solution can be performed by incubating in the ethanol solution of by several short dips in the ethanol solution, e.g., about 10-50 dips, e.g., about 30-40 dips, e.g., 35 dips, wherein each dip last for about 1-3 seconds, e.g., for 2 seconds.
[0258] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer slide is then washed several times (e.g., 3-6 times, e.g., 4 times) with water, e.g., running deionized water, in order to remove excess of ethanol from the cervical cell monolayer. Each wash in water is performed for a short period (e.g., about 1-60 seconds, e.g., about 10-30 seconds, e.g., about 10 seconds).
[0259] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer slide is then stained with Light Green. Staining with Light Green can be performed by incubating the cervical cell monolayer slides in the Light Green solution (e.g., 4% Light Green in 20% ethanol) for about 0.5-10 minutes, e.g., for about 1-5 minutes, for about 2-3 minutes, e.g., for about 2 minutes.
[0260] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer slide is then stained with Fast Green. Staining with Fast Green can be performed by incubating the cervical cell monolayer slides in the Fast Green solution for about 5 seconds to about 2 minutes, e.g., for about 10 seconds to about 2 minutes, e.g., for about 20 seconds to about 1 minute, e.g., for about 40-50 seconds, e.g., 45 seconds. The Fast green solution can be a solution of Fast green in an ethanol solution such as a solution which comprises about 0.1% to about 5% of Fast Green in an ethanol solution of about 5% to about 70% ethanol in water (v/v). For example, the Fast green solution can include about 1% Fast green in a 20% ethanol/water solution.
[0261] According to some embodiments of the invention, following Light Green or Fast Green staining, the cervical cell monolayer slide is washed in water (e.g., running DDW, DW or deionized water), in order to remove unbound Light Green or Fast Green dye from the cervical cell monolayer. Washing in water can be performed by several washes (e.g., 3-6 times, e.g., 4 times) for a short period, such as for about 1-30 seconds, e.g., for about 5-20 seconds, e.g., for about 10 seconds.
[0262] According to some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell monolayer slide is then washed in ethanol, e.g., by dipping (short dips, each of about 1-2 seconds) in an ethanol solution in the range of about 5% to about 70% ethanol in water, e.g., about 40% ethanol in water, for several times, such as 5-15 times (e.g., 10 times), followed by washing the cervical cell monolayer in water, e.g., running deionized water, for about 4 times, each wash for about 1-60 seconds (e.g., 2 seconds). Following the wash in ethanol, the slides can be washed by running DDW, DW, or deionized water for 10 seconds.
[0263] According to some embodiments of the invention, once stained and washed, the cervical cell monolayer slide is dried, e.g., by air drying, for about 10-60 minutes, e.g., for about 30 minutes, mounted with a mounting medium such as Eukitt or Entellan, and covered with cover slips.
[0264] It should be noted that any of the staining protocols described hereinabove with respect to a liquid base sample can be also implemented for a conventional cervical smear and/or for a tissue biopsy (e.g., a paraffin-embedded or a frozen section).
[0265] Once stained by the method of some embodiments of the invention, the cervical cell sample is further evaluated using a microscope and/or an image analysis system (e.g., an automated image analysis device) for the presence of at least one cervical cell having a red cytoplasm in the sample. The intensity of the red staining can be quantified (e.g., by pixels) and compared to a pre-determined threshold. A cell having a cytoplasm with a red intensity which is above a pre-determined threshold is considered to be differentially stained.
[0266] According to some embodiments of the invention cells which are differentially stained by the method of some embodiments of the invention (e.g., with a red cytoplasm) are undifferentiated cells such as pre-malignant or malignant cervical cancer cells.
[0267] According to some embodiments of the invention, a cell having a green cytoplasm after being stained with the staining method of some embodiments of the invention is considered a normal cervical cell.
[0268] According to some embodiments of the invention the cells which are differentially stained by the method of some embodiments of the invention are further evaluated by their morphological characteristics in order to classify them according to accepted histological guidelines and determine cancerous or pre-cancerous staging.
[0269] Following is a non-limiting description of morphological characteristics of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells which can be present in the cervical cell sample (cytology sample) of some embodiments of the invention (description obtained from Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004; which is fully incorporated by reference in its entirety).
[0270] Neoplastic Cells
[0271] Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance (ASC-US)—
[0272] Nuclei area is approximately 2-3 times of the area of the nucleus of normal intermediate squamous cell (nuclei area of AC-US is approximately 35 μm2). Slightly increased ratio of nuclear to cytoplasmic area. Minimal nuclear hyperchromasia and irregularity in chromatin distribution or nuclear shape. Typical ASC-US cells have the size and shape of superficial or intermediate squamous cells (See for example, FIG. 22).
[0273] Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (LSIL)—
[0274] Cells occur singly (i.e., as single cells which do not touch or overlap each other) or in clusters. Overall cell size is large, with fairly abundant “mature” well-defined cytoplasm. Nuclear enlargement more than three times the area of normal intermediate nuclei results in a slightly increased nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio. Variable degrees of nuclear hyperchromasia are accompanied by variations in nuclear size, number, and shape. Binucleation and multinucleation are common but single nucleus is also present in some cells. Chromatin is often uniformly distributed, but coarsely granular; alternatively the chromatin may appear smudged. Nucleoli are generally absent or inconspicuous if present. Contour of nuclear membranes is often slightly irregular, but may be smooth. Cells have distinct cytoplasmic borders. Non-limiting examples of LSIL cells are shown in FIG. 23).
[0275] High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (HSIL)—
[0276] Cells occur singly, in clusters, or syncytial-like aggregates. Overall cell size is variable, and ranges from cells that are similar in size to those observed in LSIL to quite small basal-type cells. Nuclear hyperchromasia is accompanied by variations in nuclear size and shape. Degree of nuclear enlargement is more variable than that seen in LSIL. Some HSIL cells have the same degree of nuclear enlargement as in LSIL, but the cytoplasmic area is decreased, leading to marked increase in the nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio. Other cells have very high nuclear/cytoplasmic ratios, but the actual size of the nuclei may be considerably smaller than that of LSIL. Chromatin may be fine or coarsely granular and evenly distributed. Contour of the nuclear membrane is quite irregular and frequently demonstrates prominent indentations or grooves. Nucleoli are generally absent, but may occasionally be seen, particularly when HSIL extends into endocervical gland spaces. Non-limiting examples of HSIL cells are shown in FIG. 24).
[0277] Squamous Cell Carcinoma
[0278] Keratinizing Squamous Cell Carcinoma—
[0279] Relatively few cells may be present; often as isolated single cells and less commonly in aggregates. Marked variation in cellular size and shape is typical, with caudate and spindle cells. Nuclei also vary markedly in size, nuclear membranes may be irregular in configuration, and numerous dense opaque nuclei are often present. Chromatin pattern, when discernible, is coarsely granular and irregularly distributed with parachromatin clearing. Macronucleoli may be seen but are less common than in nonkeratinizing SCC. Non-limiting examples of keratinizing SCC are shown in FIG. 25).
[0280] Nonkeratinizing Squamous Cell Carcinoma—
[0281] Cells occur singly or in syncytial aggregates with poorly defined cell borders. Cells are frequently somewhat smaller than those of many HSIL, but display most of the features of HSIL. Nuclei demonstrate markedly irregular distribution of coarsely clumped chromatin. May show prominent macronucleoli. Non-limiting examples of non-keratinizing SCC are shown in FIG. 26).
[0282] Following is a non-limiting description of morphological characteristics of normal superficial squamous cells (basal, intermediate and mature) and normal endocervical cells which can be present in the cervical cell sample (cytology sample) of some embodiments of the invention (description obtained from Diane Solomon, Ritu Nayar, Eds: The Bethesda System for Reporting Cervical Cytology. Definitions, criteria and explanatory notes; Second Edition. 2004; which is fully incorporated by reference in its entirety).
[0283] Basal Squamous Cell—
[0284] Nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio: Increased; Cell size: Variable; Nuclear membrane: Smooth; Nuclear content: Chromatin uniformly distributed; Number of nuclei: One; Cell shape: Oval.
[0285] Intermediate Squamous Cell—
[0286] Nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio: Slightly increased as compared to a mature squamous cell. Cell size: Variable; Nuclear membrane: Smooth; Nuclear content: Chromatin uniformly distributed; Number of nuclei: One; Cell shape: Polygonal or oval.
[0287] Mature Squamous Cell—
[0288] Nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio: Small (pyknotic) nucleus Nuclear membrane: Smooth; Nuclear content: Chromatin: uniformly distributed; Nucleoli: usually absent; Number of nuclei: One; Cell shape: Polygonal
[0289] Normal Endocervical Cells—
[0290] Cells usually present in clusters. Distinct cytoplasmic borders in the clusters giving “honeycomb” appearance. In addition, the endocervical cells are easily identified by their typical-eccentric nucleus. Additionally, focusing up and down through the cluster reveals normal spacing of cells, distinct cytoplasmic borders, and bland nuclear chromatin. Nuclear membrane is smooth. In contrast to endocervical cells, dysplastic/neoplastic clusters show more crowding (even within a single layer of cells), nuclear enlargement, nuclear membrane irregularity, and abnormal chromatin pattern. Non-limiting examples of endocervical cells are shown in FIG. 21.
[0291] Following is a non-limiting description of morphological characteristics of neoplasia in cervical biopsies (histology sample) according to some embodiments of the invention (description obtained from Diagnostic Histopathology of Tumors third edition volume 1. 2007. Christopher D. M Fletcher; which is fully incorporated by reference in its entirety).
[0292] Squamous Intraepithelial Neoplasia [Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions; Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN)]—
[0293] High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions are characterized by nuclear atypia in all levels of the epithelium with a variable degree of surface maturation. Lesions that exhibit surface koilocytotic change and epithelial maturation correspond to CIN2, whereas those with little to no maturation correspond to CIN3. These lesions are distinguished from low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions by: (1) the presence of nuclear atypia in the lower layers; (2) increased mitotic index with mitoses in the upper half of the epithelium; (3) loss of cell polarity; (4) abnormal mitotic figures and, in some cases, (5) the presence of markedly atypical, bizarre cells. Non-limiting examples of CIN3 is shown in FIG. 27; and non-limiting examples of CIN2 is shown in FIG. 28.
[0294] Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma
[0295] Keratinizing—
[0296] This tumor type shows conspicuous evidence of Keratinization in the form of Keratin pearls, keratohyline granules, individual keratinized cells, and nests of squamous cells with central Keratinization. These tumors are usually classified as well differentiated and often have a pushing border of invasion.
[0297] Non-Keratinizing—
[0298] This tumor is composed of histologically recognizable squamous cells, which are large and polygonal with eosinophilic cytoplasm and cellular bridges, but which lack keratin pearl formation, keratohyaline granules, or nests of squamous cells with central Keratinization. A greater degree of nuclear pleomorphism and an infiltrative border with associated inflammation are often present and most tumors are usually classified as moderately differentiated. Non-limiting examples of non-keratinizing SCC is shown in FIG. 29.
[0299] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising detecting an expression level above a pre-determined threshold of a cervical malignant or a cervical pre-malignant marker, wherein the expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker is indicative that the cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell, thereby identifying the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant cell.
[0300] As used herein the phrase “an expression level above a predetermined threshold” refers to a fold increase (e.g., degree of upregulation) which is higher than a predetermined threshold such as at least twice, at least three times, at least four time, at least five times, at least six times, at least seven times, at least eight times, at least nine times, at least 20 times, at least 50 times, at least 100 times, at least 200 times, at least 500 times, at least 1000 times higher than a reference expression level.
[0301] As used herein the phrase “reference expression level” refers to the expression level of a gene product (e.g., the cervical cancer marker or the cervical pre-cancerous marker) in a cell of a control, healthy subject, e.g., not affected by the disease, or a non-affected cell. It should be noted that the reference expression level can be obtained from the literature, or can be determined in cells of control subjects (e.g., from the same tissue type, cervical cells).
[0302] According to some embodiments of the invention, the reference expression data is obtained from at least one control, healthy subject, e.g., from at least 2, from at least 3, from at least 4, from at least 5, from at least 6, from at least 7, from at least 8, from at least 9, from at least 10, from at least 20, from at least 30, from at least 40, from at least 50, from at least 100 or more control, healthy subjects.
[0303] It should be noted that when more than one reference subjects is used, the reference expression data may comprise an average of the expression level of several or all subjects, and those of skills in the art are capable of averaging expression levels from 2 or more subject, using e.g., normalized expression values.
[0304] According to some embodiments of the invention, the reference expression level is absence of the cancerous or pre-malignant cancerous marker. In some embodiments of the invention, presence of the cancerous or pre-malignant cancerous marker as compared to absence of the marker in a control subject or control cell (e.g., reference expression level is zero) is indicative of a cancerous or a pre-cancerous cell (depending on the marker which is detected).
[0305] Following is a non-limiting list of cancerous/premalignant markers which detection thereof in cervical cells indicates that the cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell.
[0306] 
[00001] [TABLE-US-00001]
  TABLE 1
 
      Marker    
    Marker amino   nucleic acid    
    acid sequence   sequence     Indication of
    (SEQ ID NO)   (SEQ ID NO)   Method   cancer
 
 
  Marker        
  HPV (human       digene HC2 HPV  
  papillomavirus)       DNA Test (by  
        Qiagen), detects for  
        presence of a  
        variety of HPV  
        strains  
  Hypoxia-   2   1   Immunohistochemistry   Cervical cancer,
  inducible factor       (Birner P, et   but can be use
  1-alpha (HIF-       al., Cancer Res.   in many
  1alpha)       2000; 60: 4693-6)   different kinds
          of cancer
  Id-1 (Inhibitor   4   3   Immunohistochemistry   Cervical cancer
  of       (Schindl M, et  
  differentiation/       al., Cancer Res.  
  DNA binding)       2001; 61: 5703-6)  
p16INK4a   6   5   Immunohistochemistry   Cervical cancer
        (Tsoumpou I.,  
        et al., Cancer  
        Treatment Reviews  
        35: 210-220, 2009;  
        Negri G, et al., Am  
        J Surg Pathol.  
        2003, 27: 187-93)  
  p21WAF1/CIP1   8   7   Immunohistochemistry   Cervical cancer
  [p21waf1/cip1       (Lu-X, et al.,  
  encodes a       Cancer. 1998; 82:  
  cyclin-       2409-17)  
  dependent        
  kinase inhibitor        
  that is        
  transcriptionally        
  activated by        
  the p53 tumor        
  suppressor        
  gene,        
  transforming        
  growth factor        
  beta 1]        
  Tn antigen (Tn-   Tn antigen     Tn-Ag can be   Cervical cancer
  Ag)   carbohydrate     measured by the  
    (GalNac α(1-     avidin-biotin-  
    O)-Ser/Thr)     peroxidase (ABC)  
        method with peanut  
      (Arachis hypogaea)  
        lectin (PNA) and  
        Vicia villosa  
        agglutinin (VVA)  
        (Hirao T, et al.,  
        Cancer. 1993, 72:  
        154-9)  
  P53   10    9   Immunohistochemistry  
        (Kaserer K., et  
        al., J Pathol. 2000,  
        190: 450-6)  
  Proliferation        
  markers        
  PCNA   14    13   Immunohistochemistry   Proliferation
  (proliferating       (Raucci F, et   marker can be
  cell nuclear       al., J Chem   used for
  antigen       Neuroanat. 2006   diagnosis of
  (PCNA)       Dec; 32(2-4): 127-42)   cervical cancer
  Ki-67 protein   12    11   Immunohistochemistry   Proliferation
        (Scholzen T,   marker can be
        Gerdes J; J Cell   used for
        Physiol. 2000   diagnosis of
        Mar; 182(3): 311-22)   cervical cancer
  BrdU       Immunohistochemistry   Proliferation
        (using an anti   marker can be
        BrDu antibody; BD   used for
        Bioscience, Cat No.   diagnosis of
        550803; Cat No.   cervical cancer
        551321)
 
  Each of the cited references for the staining protocols is incorporated herein by references in its entirety.
[0307] The expression level of the cervical malignant or a cervical pre-malignant marker can be detected using a high affinity agent capable of binding to the cervical malignant or pre-malignant marker.
[0308] According to some embodiments the high affinity agent is an antibody which specifically binds to the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker.
[0309] The term “antibody” as used in this invention includes intact molecules as well as functional fragments thereof, such as Fab, F(ab′)2, and Fv that are capable of binding to macrophages. These functional antibody fragments are defined as follows: (1) Fab, the fragment which contains a monovalent antigen-binding fragment of an antibody molecule, can be produced by digestion of whole antibody with the enzyme papain to yield an intact light chain and a portion of one heavy chain; (2) Fab′, the fragment of an antibody molecule that can be obtained by treating whole antibody with pepsin, followed by reduction, to yield an intact light chain and a portion of the heavy chain; two Fab′ fragments are obtained per antibody molecule; (3) (Fab′)2, the fragment of the antibody that can be obtained by treating whole antibody with the enzyme pepsin without subsequent reduction; F(ab′)2 is a dimer of two Fab′ fragments held together by two disulfide bonds; (4) Fv, defined as a genetically engineered fragment containing the variable region of the light chain and the variable region of the heavy chain expressed as two chains; and (5) Single chain antibody (“SCA”), a genetically engineered molecule containing the variable region of the light chain and the variable region of the heavy chain, linked by a suitable polypeptide linker as a genetically fused single chain molecule.
[0310] Methods of producing polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies as well as fragments thereof are well known in the art (See for example, Harlow and Lane, Antibodies: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, 1988, incorporated herein by reference).
[0311] Antibody fragments according to the present invention can be prepared by proteolytic hydrolysis of the antibody or by expression in E. coli or mammalian cells (e.g. Chinese hamster ovary cell culture or other protein expression systems) of DNA encoding the fragment. Antibody fragments can be obtained by pepsin or papain digestion of whole antibodies by conventional methods. For example, antibody fragments can be produced by enzymatic cleavage of antibodies with pepsin to provide a 5S fragment denoted F(ab′)2. This fragment can be further cleaved using a thiol reducing agent, and optionally a blocking group for the sulfhydryl groups resulting from cleavage of disulfide linkages, to produce 3.5S Fab′ monovalent fragments. Alternatively, an enzymatic cleavage using pepsin produces two monovalent Fab′ fragments and an Fc fragment directly. These methods are described, for example, by Goldenberg, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,036,945 and 4,331,647, and references contained therein, which patents are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety. See also Porter, R. R. [Biochem. J. 73: 119-126 (1959)]. Other methods of cleaving antibodies, such as separation of heavy chains to form monovalent light-heavy chain fragments, further cleavage of fragments, or other enzymatic, chemical, or genetic techniques may also be used, so long as the fragments bind to the antigen that is recognized by the intact antibody.
[0312] Fv fragments comprise an association of VH and VL chains. This association may be noncovalent, as described in Inbar et al. [Proc. Nat'l Acad. Sci. USA 69:2659-62 (19720]. Alternatively, the variable chains can be linked by an intermolecular disulfide bond or cross-linked by chemicals such as glutaraldehyde. Preferably, the Fv fragments comprise VH and VL chains connected by a peptide linker. These single-chain antigen binding proteins (sFv) are prepared by constructing a structural gene comprising DNA sequences encoding the VH and VL domains connected by an oligonucleotide. The structural gene is inserted into an expression vector, which is subsequently introduced into a host cell such as E. coli. The recombinant host cells synthesize a single polypeptide chain with a linker peptide bridging the two V domains. Methods for producing sFvs are described, for example, by [Whitlow and Filpula, Methods 2: 97-105 (1991); Bird et al., Science 242:423-426 (1988); Pack et al., Bio/Technology 11:1271-77 (1993); and U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,778, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
[0313] Another form of an antibody fragment is a peptide coding for a single complementarity-determining region (CDR). CDR peptides (“minimal recognition units”) can be obtained by constructing genes encoding the CDR of an antibody of interest. Such genes are prepared, for example, by using the polymerase chain reaction to synthesize the variable region from RNA of antibody-producing cells. See, for example, Larrick and Fry [Methods, 2: 106-10 (1991)].
[0314] According to some embodiments of the invention the antibody is conjugated to an identifiable or detectable moiety. The identifiable moiety can be a label which is directly visualized (e.g., a fluorescent molecule, a radioactive molecule) or a member of a binding (affinity) pair, which is identifiable via its interaction with an additional member of the binding pair (e.g., antibody-antigen pairs, enzyme-substrate pairs). Table 2, hereinbelow, provides examples of sequences of identifiable moieties.
[0315] 
[00002] [TABLE-US-00002]
  TABLE 2
 
    Amino Acid   Amino   Nucleic Acid   Nucleic
    sequence   acid   sequence   acid
  Identifiable   (Genbank   SEQ   (Genbank   SEQ
  Moiety   Accession No.)   ID NO:   Accession No.)   ID NO:
 
  Green   AAL33912   15   AF435427   16
  Fluorescent        
  protein        
  Alkaline   AAK73766   17   AY042185   18
  phosphatase        
  Peroxidase   NP_568674   19   NM_124071   20
  Histidine tag   Amino acid   21   Nucleic acid   22
    coordinates     coordinates  
    264-269     790-807  
    of Genbank     of Genbank  
    Accession No.     Accession No.  
    AAK09208     AF329457  
  Myc tag   Amino acid   21   Nucleic acid   22
    coordinates     coordinates  
    273-283     817-849  
    of Genbank     of Genbank  
    Accession No.     Accession No.  
    AAK09208     AF329457  
  Biotin lygase   NP_561589   23   NC_003366   24
  tag        
  orange   AAL33917   25   AF435432   26
  fluorescent        
  protein        
  Beta   NP_201186   27   NM_125776   28
  galactosidase        
  Fluorescein   —   —   —   —
  isothiocyanate        
  Streptavidin   AAM49066   29   AF283893   30
 
[0316] According to some embodiments of the invention, the identifiable moiety is conjugated by translationally fusing the polynucleotide encoding the antibody of the invention with the nucleic acid sequence encoding the identifiable moiety.
[0317] Additionally or alternatively, the identifiable moiety can be chemically conjugated (coupled) to the antibody of the invention, using any conjugation method known to one skilled in the art. For example, a peptide can be conjugated to an antibody of interest, using a 3-(2-pyridyldithio)propionic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester (also called N-succinimidyl 3-(2pyridyldithio) propionate) (“SDPD”) (Sigma, Cat. No. P-3415; see e.g., Cumber et al. 1985, Methods of Enzymology 112: 207-224), a glutaraldehyde conjugation procedure (see e.g., G. T. Hermanson 1996, “Antibody Modification and Conjugation, in Bioconjugate Techniques, Academic Press, San Diego) or a carbodiimide conjugation procedure [see e.g., J. March, Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reaction's, Mechanism, and Structure, pp. 349-50 & 372-74 (3d ed.), 1985; B. Neises et al. 1978, Angew Chem., Int. Ed. Engl. 17:522; A. Hassner et al. 1978, Tetrahedron Lett. 4475; E. P. Boden et al. 1986, J. Org. Chem. 50:2394 and L. J. Mathias 1979, Synthesis 561].
[0318] The antibody can be used in a variety of known methods such as immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and radio-immunolabeling in situ (using a radio-labeled antibody).
[0319] Following is a non-limiting example of an immunohistochemical analysis. This method involves detection of a substrate in situ in fixed cells by substrate specific antibodies. The substrate specific antibodies may be enzyme linked or linked to fluorophores. Detection is by microscopy and subjective or automatic evaluation. If enzyme linked antibodies are employed, a colorimetric reaction may be required. It will be appreciated that immunohistochemistry is often followed by counterstaining of the cell nuclei using for example Hematoxylin or Giemsa stain. For immunofluorescence, the antibody can be directly or indirectly (e.g., via a secondary antibody) to a fluorescent moiety.
[0320] According to some embodiments of the invention the level of expression of the cervical malignant or pre-malignant cancer is detected using a high affinity substrate, e.g., in an in situ activity assay. According to this method, a chromogenic substrate is applied on the cells containing an active enzyme and the enzyme catalyzes a reaction in which the substrate is decomposed to produce a chromogenic product visible by a light or a fluorescent microscope.
[0321] According to some embodiments of the invention the high affinity agent is a polynucleotide which specifically hybridizes to an mRNA transcript encoding the cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker. Non-limiting examples of polynucleotides which can hybridize to mRNA include DNA or RNA probes which are used for in situ hybridization, DNA or RNA oligonucleotides which can be used for in situ RT-PCR (reverse transcription coupled with polymerase chain reaction).
[0322] According to some embodiments of the invention the high affinity agent is a polynucleotide which specifically hybridizes to a specific DNA sequence that is used as a marker for cervical cancer (e.g., DNA of various HPV strains, a specific cancer-associated mutation, duplication, inversion, deletion, insertion, translocation and the like). Such a polynucleotide can be a DNA or RNA probe or PCR primer(s) which can detect a specific DNA sequence (e.g., foreign DNA sequence, non-human sequence, such as viral sequence), as well as a mutation in an endogenous DNA sequence (for amplification of specific markers in situ, such as duplications, deletions, inversions), using for example, in situ PCR.
[0323] Various methods can be used to label the polynucleotide of the invention. These include fluorescent labeling with a fluorophore conjugated via a linker or a chemical bond to at least one nucleotide, or the use of a covalently conjugated enzyme (e.g., Horse Radish Peroxidase) and a covalently conjugated substrate (e.g., o-phenylenediamine) which upon interaction therebetween yield a colorimetric or fluorescent color. Alternatively, the polynucleotide can be radiolabeled.
[0324] As used herein the term “fluorophore” refers to any entity which can be excited by light to emit fluorescence. Such a fluorphore can be an artificial or a naturally occurring molecule (e.g., fluorescein, Texas Red, rhodamine), or a quantum dot. Quantum dots are coated nanocrystals fabricated from semiconductor materials in which the emission spectrum is controlled by the nanocrystal size. Quantum dots have a wide absorption spectrum, allowing simultaneous emission of fluorescence of various colors with a single excitation source. Quantum dots can be modified with large number of small molecules and linker groups such as conjugation of amino (PEG) or carboxyl quantum dots to streptavidin (Quantum Dot Corporation, Hayward, Calif., USA).
[0325] The polynucleotide can be used in a variety of in situ detection methods such as in situ hybridization and in situ RT-PCR, which are well known in the art.
[0326] Following is a non-limiting example of performing in situ hybridization.
[0327] RNA In Situ Hybridization Stain:
[0328] In this method DNA or RNA probes are attached to the RNA molecules present in the cells. Generally, the cells are first fixed to microscopic slides to preserve the cellular structure and to prevent the RNA molecules from being degraded and then are subjected to hybridization buffer containing the labeled probe. The hybridization buffer includes reagents such as formamide and salts (e.g., sodium chloride and sodium citrate) which enable specific hybridization of the DNA or RNA probes with their target mRNA molecules in situ while avoiding non-specific binding of probe. Those of skills in the art are capable of adjusting the hybridization conditions (i.e., temperature, concentration of salts and formamide and the like) to specific probes and types of cells. Following hybridization, any unbound probe is washed off and the bound probe is detected using known methods. For example, if a radio-labeled probe is used, then the slide is subjected to a photographic emulsion which reveals signals generated using radio-labeled probes; if the probe was labeled with an enzyme then the enzyme-specific substrate is added for the formation of a colorimetric reaction; if the probe is labeled using a fluorescent label, then the bound probe is revealed using a fluorescent microscope; if the probe is labeled using a tag (e.g., digoxigenin, biotin, and the like) then the bound probe can be detected following interaction with a tag-specific antibody which can be detected using known methods.
[0329] In Situ RT-PCR Stain:
[0330] This method is described in Nuovo G J, et al. [Intracellular localization of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified hepatitis C cDNA. Am J Surg Pathol. 1993, 17: 683-90] and Komminoth P, et al. [Evaluation of methods for hepatitis C virus detection in archival liver biopsies. Comparison of histology, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ RT-PCR. Pathol Res Pract. 1994, 190: 1017-25]. Briefly, the RT-PCR reaction is performed on fixed cells by incorporating labeled nucleotides to the PCR reaction. The reaction is carried on using a specific in situ RT-PCR apparatus such as the laser-capture microdissection PixCell I LCM system available from Arcturus Engineering (Mountainview, Calif.).
[0331] According to some embodiments of the invention, presence of at least one cervical cell which is identified as a non- or less-differentiated cell according to the method of some embodiments of the invention (e.g., which uses Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, Light or Fast green) and at least one cervical cell which exhibits an expression level above a pre-determined threshold of a cervical malignant or of a cervical pre-malignant marker according to the method of some embodiments of the invention (e.g., using an antibody or a polynucleotide probe) in the same cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0332] According to some embodiments of the invention, presence of at least one cervical cell having the abnormal morphology according to the method of some embodiments of the invention, at least one cervical cell which is identified as a non- or less-differentiated cell according to the method of some embodiments of the invention (e.g., which uses Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, Light or Fast green) and at least one cervical cell which exhibits the expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker in the same cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0333] It should be noted that detecting the expression level of the malignant or pre-malignant cervical cancer marker can be performed on the same cervical cell(s) which are subjected to staining method of the invention (which uses Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, Light or Fast green), i.e., co-staining.
[0334] It should be noted that for co-staining the conditions used for one staining method should be adjusted such that they do not interfere with the staining of the other method. In addition, the dyes used in the two or more staining methods should be selected such that they do not interfere with each other.
[0335] Additionally or alternatively, the results of the first staining method can be recorded using an apparatus suitable for dual imaging such as the BioView Duet™ (Bio View, Rehovot, Israel), following which the dye(s) of the first staining method can be removed (using for example, 70% ethanol solution) prior to employing the second staining method on the same cervical cells. It should be noted that such an apparatus enables the user to view staining results of two different staining methods/dyes on the same single cell.
[0336] According to some embodiments of the invention, presence of an expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker in the same cervical cell which is identified as having a non- or less-differentiated cell based on a red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold indicates that the same cell is a cancerous or a pre-malignant cell and thus the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0337] Additionally or alternatively, detecting the expression level of the malignant or pre-malignant cervical cancer marker can be performed on a parallel cervical cell sample obtained from the same subject, preferably at the same time as the first sample, i.e., parallel staining. The parallel cervical cell sample can be a duplicate slide, obtained at the same time of biopsying the original cervical sample. For example, in case of a cervical smear, the duplicate slide can be prepared from the same brush used to collect the cervical cells of the first slide; in case of a liquid-base sample, the duplicate slide can be obtained from the same aliquot of centrifuged cells; in case of a tissue section, the duplicate slide can be the next slice of tissue (which is only about 5-20 microns apart from the first slice).
[0338] According to some embodiments of the invention, viewing and analyzing the staining results (including co-staining, parallel staining or a single staining) is performed using an automated image analysis apparatus with the appropriate analysis software.
[0339] Thus, the staining methods of the invention can detect cancerous or pre-cancerous cells in a cervical cell sample and therefore are useful in diagnosing cervical cancer in a subject in need thereof.
[0340] As used herein the term “diagnosing” refers to classifying a pathology (e.g., a cervical cancer or a pre-malignant cervical cancer lesion) or a symptom, determining a severity of the pathology (grade or stage), monitoring pathology progression (i.e., without treatment and/or following or during treatment), forecasting an outcome of a pathology and/or prospects of recovery.
[0341] According to some embodiments of the invention the method of the invention is used to assist in the diagnosis of cervical cancer, the determination of grading and/or staging of cervical cancer, the monitoring of disease progression, and/or the monitoring and/or evaluation of efficacy of therapy.
[0342] As used herein the phrase “subject in need thereof” refers to a female human subject having a routine screening for cervical cancer, as well as to a subject who is at risk of having cervical cancer due to infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), medical and/or family history of cancer, exposure to carcinogens, occupational hazard, environmental hazard, and/or a subject who exhibits suspicious clinical signs of cancer [e.g., vaginal bleeding in menopause females, unexplained pain, sweating, unexplained fever, unexplained loss of weight up to anorexia, anemia and/or general weakness].
[0343] Thus, according to an aspect of some embodiments of the invention, there is provided a method of diagnosing a pre-malignant or a malignant cervical tumor in a subject. The method is effected by (a) staining a cervical cell sample of the subject according to the method of the invention, to thereby obtain a stained cervical cell sample, (b) identifying at least one cervical cell of the cervical cell sample having a red cytoplasm above a pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold is indicative of a non- or less-differentiated cell as compared to a normal cervical cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0344] According to some embodiments of the invention, presence of a non- or less-differentiated cell in the cervical sample is indicative of the diagnosis of a cervical cancer or a pre-malignant cancer in the subject from which the cervical sample was obtained.
[0345] As used herein the phrase “pre-malignant cervical tumor” refers to an abnormal growth of cervical cells, which leads to a malignant cervical tumor.
[0346] According to some embodiments of the invention, the pre-malignant cervical tumor is grade 1, 2 or 3 of intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN; e.g., CIN1, CIN2 or CIN3), or low, middle or high grade of squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL; e.g., SIL1, SIL2 or SIL3).
[0347] As used herein the phrase “malignant cervical tumor” refers to cancerous tumor of the cervix.
[0348] According to some embodiments of the invention, the malignant cervical tumor is carcinoma in situ (which is usually localized to the cervix) or invasive carcinoma (which penetrates to adjacent or distal tissues).
[0349] According to some embodiments of the invention, the invasive carcinoma is squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) or adenocarcinoma.
[0350] As mentioned, the diagnosis of the cervical cancer or the pre-malignant cervical tumor is performed by analyzing the cervical cell sample which is stained by the staining method of the invention. Such analysis is performed using a microscope (even at low magnification of ×4 for the objective magnification), or a microscope-assisted image analysis system, and is based on the identification of a red color above a pre-determined threshold in the cytoplasm of at least one cervical cell, wherein a presence of at least one cell having a red cytoplasm above a pre-determined threshold is indicative of a non- or less-differentiated cell as compared to a normal cervical cell, whereas presence of non- or less-differentiated cervical cells in the cervical cell sample is indicative of the diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0351] According to some embodiments of the invention, the diagnosis of the cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor according to some embodiments of the invention is based on the combination of the differential staining method of the invention and the morphology of the cells which are differentially stained by the method of some embodiments of the invention in the sample. Such a morphological analysis assists and/or enables the determination of staging of the cervical tumor.
[0352] Thus, according to some embodiments of the invention, the method of diagnosing the cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor further comprising analyzing a morphology of the at least one cervical cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold, wherein presence of an abnormal morphology in the same cell having the red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold as compared to a morphology of a normal cervical cell is indicative of the pre-malignant or malignant cervical tumor.
[0353] Those of skills in the art are capable of determining the staging of the cervical tumors based on the morphological characteristics of the cervical cells.
[0354] It should be noted that the combined staining method, i.e., the differential staining method, which uses Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin and Light or Fast green as described above, and which results in identification of non- or less-differentiated cells; and the staining method which identifies expression of cancerous markers on cervical cells can be used to diagnose cervical cancer or cervical pre-malignant cells in the cell sample.
[0355] Thus, according to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising identifying at least one cervical cell which is identified as being the non- or less-differentiated cell and which also exhibits an expression level above a pre-determined threshold of a cervical malignant or of a cervical pre-malignant marker (i.e., staining of the same cell by the two different staining methods), wherein the at least one cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0356] It should be noted that the combination of staining method as described above, along with analysis of morphologically abnormal cells as described above can be also used in the identification of cervical malignant or pre-malignant cells in the cervical sample.
[0357] Thus, according to some embodiments of the invention, the method further comprising identifying at least one cervical cell having the abnormal morphology, which is identified as the non- or less-differentiated cell and which exhibits an expression level above a pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker, wherein the at least one cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0358] According to some embodiments of the invention, presence of an abnormal morphology, an expression level above the pre-determined threshold of the cervical malignant or of the cervical pre-malignant marker and a red cytoplasm above the pre-determined threshold in the same cervical cell indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
[0359] Thus, the teachings of the invention can be used to detect cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cancer cells in a biological sample of the subject and thus be used in diagnosing pre-malignant and/or malignant cervical cancer in a subject.
[0360] Once diagnosed with a pre-malignant or a malignant cervical cancer the subject is informed of the possible treatment options, depending on the diagnosis, staging and type of cancer.
[0361] According to some embodiments of the invention, the method of diagnosing the cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor further comprising informing the diagnosis of cervical cancer or a cervical pre-malignant cancer.
[0362] It should be noted that the teachings of the invention can be also used to monitor progression of the cervical cancer (e.g., from a localized form to an invasive carcinoma) or the conversion of the pre-malignant cervical cancer to the malignant form.
[0363] In addition, the teachings of the invention can be also used to determine a treatment regimen (e.g., whether to treat or not to treat a subject; treat by a surgical resection of tumor, or therapeutic drugs such as chemotherapy) based on the precise diagnosis and staging of the cancer or the pre-malignant cervical tumor.
[0364] According to an aspect of some embodiments of the invention there is provided a method of treating a subject having cervical cancer, the method comprising diagnosing the cervical cancer according to the method of some embodiments of the invention and treating the subject based on such diagnosis and/or staging of cervical cancer.
[0365] As mentioned, the method of diagnosing a cervical tumor or a pre-malignant cervical tumor can be combined with other known methods of diagnosing cervical cancer such as histological staining (e.g., Papapanicolaou stained cervical smears) and/or molecular techniques [e.g., immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence or in situ hybridization, such as chromosomal assays (FISH, fluorescent in situ hybridization) or RNA-based in situ hybridization] and thus result in superior diagnostic power and precise staging of the pre-cancerous or cancerous cervical tumors.
[0366] The agents of the present invention which are described hereinabove for staining cervical cell samples and/or diagnosing and staging cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor may be included in a diagnostic kit/article of manufacture preferably along with appropriate instructions for use and labels indicating FDA approval for use in staining cervical cell samples and/or diagnosing and staging cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor.
[0367] Such a kit can include, for example, at least three containers, each including at least one of the above described staining or pre-staining agents (Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, and Light Green). The kit may also include appropriate buffers and preservatives for improving the shelf-life of the kit.
[0368] According to some embodiments of the invention, the kit comprises the Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, and Light Green.
[0369] According to some embodiments of the invention, the kit comprises the Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, and Fast Green.
[0370] The kit further comprising a packaging material for packaging the Ficus elastics plant extract, New Fuchsin, and Fast or Light Green.
[0371] According to some embodiments of the invention, the kit further comprising instructions for use in staining cervical cell sample and/or diagnosing a cervical pre-malignant or malignant tumor in a subject.
[0372] As used herein the term “about” refers to ±10%.
[0373] The terms “comprises”, “comprising”, “includes”, “including”, “having” and their conjugates mean “including but not limited to”.
[0374] The term “consisting of means “including and limited to”.
[0375] The term “consisting essentially of” means that the composition, method or structure may include additional ingredients, steps and/or parts, but only if the additional ingredients, steps and/or parts do not materially alter the basic and novel characteristics of the claimed composition, method or structure.
[0376] As used herein, the singular form “a”, “an” and “the” include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. For example, the term “a compound” or “at least one compound” may include a plurality of compounds, including mixtures thereof.
[0377] Throughout this application, various embodiments of this invention may be presented in a range format. It should be understood that the description in range format is merely for convenience and brevity and should not be construed as an inflexible limitation on the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the description of a range should be considered to have specifically disclosed all the possible subranges as well as individual numerical values within that range. For example, description of a range such as from 1 to 6 should be considered to have specifically disclosed subranges such as from 1 to 3, from 1 to 4, from 1 to 5, from 2 to 4, from 2 to 6, from 3 to 6 etc., as well as individual numbers within that range, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. This applies regardless of the breadth of the range.
[0378] Whenever a numerical range is indicated herein, it is meant to include any cited numeral (fractional or integral) within the indicated range. The phrases “ranging/ranges between” a first indicate number and a second indicate number and “ranging/ranges from” a first indicate number “to” a second indicate number are used herein interchangeably and are meant to include the first and second indicated numbers and all the fractional and integral numerals therebetween.
[0379] As used herein the term “method” refers to manners, means, techniques and procedures for accomplishing a given task including, but not limited to, those manners, means, techniques and procedures either known to, or readily developed from known manners, means, techniques and procedures by practitioners of the chemical, pharmacological, biological, biochemical and medical arts.
[0380] It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable sub combination or as suitable in any other described embodiment of the invention. Certain features described in the context of various embodiments are not to be considered essential features of those embodiments, unless the embodiment is inoperative without those elements.
[0381] Various embodiments and aspects of the present invention as delineated hereinabove and as claimed in the claims section below find experimental support in the following examples.

EXAMPLES

[0382] Reference is now made to the following examples, which together with the above descriptions illustrate some embodiments of the invention in a non limiting fashion.
[0383] Generally, the nomenclature used herein and the laboratory procedures utilized in the present invention include molecular, biochemical, microbiological and recombinant DNA techniques. Such techniques are thoroughly explained in the literature. See, for example, “Molecular Cloning: A laboratory Manual” Sambrook et al., (1989); “Current Protocols in Molecular Biology” Volumes I-III Ausubel, R. M., ed. (1994); Ausubel et al., “Current Protocols in Molecular Biology”, John Wiley and Sons, Baltimore, Md. (1989); Perbal, “A Practical Guide to Molecular Cloning”, John Wiley & Sons, New York (1988); Watson et al., “Recombinant DNA”, Scientific American Books, New York; Birren et al. (eds) “Genome Analysis: A Laboratory Manual Series”, Vols. 1-4, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York (1998); methodologies as set forth in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,666,828; 4,683,202; 4,801,531; 5,192,659 and 5,272,057; “Cell Biology: A Laboratory Handbook”, Volumes I-III Cellis, J. E., ed. (1994); “Current Protocols in Immunology” Volumes I-III Coligan J. E., ed. (1994); Stites et al. (eds), “Basic and Clinical Immunology” (8th Edition), Appleton & Lange, Norwalk, Conn. (1994); Mishell and Shiigi (eds), “Selected Methods in Cellular Immunology”, W. H. Freeman and Co., New York (1980); available immunoassays are extensively described in the patent and scientific literature, see, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,791,932; 3,839,153; 3,850,752; 3,850,578; 3,853,987; 3,867,517; 3,879,262; 3,901,654; 3,935,074; 3,984,533; 3,996,345; 4,034,074; 4,098,876; 4,879,219; 5,011,771 and 5,281,521; “Oligonucleotide Synthesis” Gait, M. J., ed. (1984); “Nucleic Acid Hybridization” Hames, B. D., and Higgins S. J., eds. (1985); “Transcription and Translation” Hames, B. D., and Higgins S. J., Eds. (1984); “Animal Cell Culture” Freshney, R. I., ed. (1986); “Immobilized Cells and Enzymes” IRL Press, (1986); “A Practical Guide to Molecular Cloning” Perbal, B., (1984) and “Methods in Enzymology” Vol. 1-317, Academic Press; “PCR Protocols: A Guide To Methods And Applications”, Academic Press, San Diego, Calif. (1990); Marshak et al., “Strategies for Protein Purification and Characterization—A Laboratory Course Manual” CSHL Press (1996); all of which are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein. Other general references are provided throughout this document. The procedures therein are believed to be well known in the art and are provided for the convenience of the reader. All the information contained therein is incorporated herein by reference.

Example 1

Diagnosing Cervical Cancer by Cervical Histology

[0384] To establish the feasibility of the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention in detecting cervical cancer in cervical biopsies, optimize staining procedure, establish a correlation of atypical cell morphology with the presence of red color in those atypical cells, optimize and validate the ability of the staining method of some embodiments of the invention to detect cervical cancer and determine the sensitivity of the staining method of some embodiments of the invention to detect cervical cancer, the present inventors have conducted a single center open labeled study. The study was conducted at the Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel, and included up to 60 cervical biopsies.
[0385] Study Outline
[0386] Biopsy samples with known diagnosis were received from Meir medical center pathology department, and transferred to a pathology laboratory to prepare multiple slides from each biopsy. The study is an open label learning and calibration study of cervical biopsies with known pathology, intended for the optimization of the staining procedure and testing its feasibility in detecting cervical cancer.
[0387] Procedural Protocol and Sample Processing
[0388] The following steps followed for cervical biopsies:
[0389] Up to sixty (60) eligible cervical biopsies (archived paraffin blocks) were received (Table 3 below). The diagnosis of each biopsy sample was taken from the subject's file. All biopsy samples were without any identifying information.
[0390] Each paraffin block was processed by a pathological laboratory for the preparation of slides for staining.
[0391] The slides were stained according to the staining protocol for cervical histological staining as described hereinbelow.
[0392] Certain slides were stained according to the current clinical practice of the H&E staining method, when required by study sponsor or study principle investigator to enable a direct comparison to the staining method of the invention.
[0393] Staining results were compared to the previously known pathologic results of the samples.
[0394] Study Measures
[0395] Each slide stained by the staining method of the invention was analyzed as follows:
[0396] Cell color—presence of green/blue colored cells (normal cells), red colored cells (potentially cancer cells) or both.
[0397] Morphological analysis of the cells in the sample was performed. As noted, an important feature of the staining method of the some embodiments of the invention is that it enables morphological analysis for presence/absence of abnormal cells. Sample was designated as absent of-, or suspected to, contain abnormal or cancer cells.
[0398] Alignment of color and cell morphology was performed and recorded to establish a correlation between cell morphology and cell color.
[0399] Study endpoints—Correlation of analysis of slides stained by the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention with pathological evaluation as obtained from the stained slides.
[0400] Correlation of atypical cell morphology in slides stained by the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention with the presence of the red color in those atypical cells.
[0401] In order to determine the correlation of analysis of slides stained by the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention with the pathological evaluation, each sample was defined as ‘accurate’ or ‘non-accurate’ by comparing the diagnosis obtained in the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention with the pre-diagnosis of the same sample. The correlation rate is the percent of accurate diagnoses out of the total number of samples.
[0402] Materials and Experimental Methods
[0403] Equipment—
[0404] 50 ml plastic tubes, microscope.
[0405] Materials—
[0406] Cervical histology samples slides and cover slips.
[0407] Solutions
[0408] Plant extract solution—Ficus elastics plant extract in 70% Ethanol [ethanol in water, volume per volume (v/v)].
[0409] Light Green solution 4% [weight per volume (w/v)] in 20% Ethanol.
[0410] New Fuchsin solution—0.5% (w/v) in 20% Ethanol (v/v).
[0411] Hematoxylin Gill III solution—a ready for use solution (Merck, Catalogue No. HX690821).
[0412] Ethanol 100% (J. T. Baker, Cat. No. 8006);
[0413] Ethanol 96% [96% Ethanol (J. T. Baker, Cat. No. 8006) in double distilled water (DDW]
[0414] Ethanol 50% [50% Ethanol (J. T. Baker, Cat. No. 8006) in double distilled water (DDW)].
[0415] Xylen (Bio lab, Cat No 24250505)
[0416] Double distillate water (DDW)
[0417] Tap water
[0418] Eukitt (Sigma Cat No. 03989)
[0419] Preparation of Ficus Plant Extract:
[0420] Selection of Optimized Leaves for the Staining Method—
[0421] Optimal leaves for the process are those exhibiting a weight between about 15 and about 25 grams per leave and a length which is about 18-30 centimeter per leave as measured from the base of the leaf until the edge. Leaves that were below these specifications (e.g., less than 15 gram per leave and/or less than 18 centimeter in length) tend to have a red pigment and tend to be over-active from the inhibition point of view, while leaves that are above these criteria (e.g., more than 25 grams per leave and/or above 30 centimeters in length) are characterized by very strong green pigment and tend to show very little activity.
[0422] 1 Kg of leaves were cut into 1-2 cm pieces. The cut leaves were mixed with 3 liter of 70% ethanol (EtOH) and were kept for 10 days (room temperature) in a sealed container. Thereafter, the liquid was separated from the solids and kept for further use in room temperature. For optimal purification yields, the liquid was allowed to age in the container for at least 10 days and up to one month at room temperature.
[0423] Alternative Preparation of Plant (Ficus Elastica) Extract:
[0424] Leaves were cut into 1-2 cm pieces. The cut pieces were dried in an oven at 65° C. for 24 hours (hrs). At the beginning, wet content was 80%, while at the end it should have been 4%.
[0425] The material was blended into a powder (700-1000 micron). The powder was used in extraction in a reflux system: 1 hour (hr) per extraction, solvent: 70% ethanol, 40° C. Three sequential extractions were performed, each time the powder was re-extracted. Quantity of 70% ethanol in each extraction: first—1:5; second—1:4; third—1:3. The three resulting extracts were mixed, filtered in vacuum filter, paper No. 40. The mixed, filtered extract was evaporated in a rotor evaporator under vacuum at 60° C. until a steady weight was obtained.
[0426] The resulting powder (final humidity was 3%) was blended further in a grinder. The powder extract was reconstituted for use as a staining reagent. The powder was taken up in 70% ethanol at a final concentration of 1.3% w/v, pH 7.4. Shelf life of powdered extract: humidity 1%, after six months at room temperature in transparent glass—activity was equivalent to the initial level.
[0427] Staining Procedure for Cervical Histological Sections—
[0428] Each slide was heated at 70° C. for 15 minutes and then introduced into three containers of 100% Xylen (each filled with about 300 ml) for a 3 minute-incubation in each container. The slides were then transferred into two containers of 100% Ethanol (each filled with about 300 ml) and washed therein by performing about 10 dips (each dip lasts for 1 seconds), followed by a wash (10 dips, each dip lasts for 1 second) in a container filled with 96% Ethanol (ready for use solution). The slides were washed in running distillate water and further incubated for one minute in a Hematoxylin Harris solution (filled within a 50 ml plastic tube), washed with running tap water for 1 minute, followed by a wash in running distillate water for 10 seconds. The slides were then incubated for 4 minutes in the Ficus elastics plant extract solution, which was filled within a 50 ml plastic tube. The slides were then washed with running DDW for 10 seconds and further incubated for 2 minutes within New Fuchsin (filled within a 50 ml plastic tube). The slides were washed with running DDW for 10 seconds and incubated for 75 seconds with 50% Ethanol (filled in a 50 ml plastic tube). The slides were then washed with running DDW for 10 seconds and then incubated for 50 seconds with Light Green (filled in a 50 ml plastic tube). The slides were washed with running DDW for 10 seconds and then air-dried for 30 minutes. For microscopical evaluation, the slides were closed with cover slips by the addition of one drop of Eukitt in the middle of sample.
[0429] Analysis of Staining—
[0430] Cytoplasm of normal cells should be green/blue. Cytoplasm of malignant cells should be red/violet
[0431] Summary of Proceedings
[0432] A total of 60 cases, received from the pathology department of Meir MC hospital, were eligible and included in the trial.
[0433] All biopsies were processed according to the planned proceedings above. For each case, one slide was stained by Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E). Multiple slides from each case were prepared to facilitate calibration and optimization of the staining protocol. 6-10 cases were used in the protocol calibration part of the study. This part included a matrix process, by which each step in the protocol was carefully examined and optimized. The purpose of this part was to develop a robust protocol that enables both differential staining and good morphological analysis capabilities. The optimized protocol was then subjected to robust analysis using a few control cases. The following parameters were examined:
[0434] Multiple slides processing from the same case on the same day;
[0435] Multiple slides processing from the same case on different days;
[0436] Independent operators;
[0437] The analysis confirmed that the staining protocol according to some embodiments of the invention provides highly repetitive results. Thus, the staining protocol was determined as “sufficient for the clinical trial”, and the exact protocol was converted to a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) format, and thereafter used to stain all samples in the clinical trial.
[0438] Procedure of Results Analysis
[0439] A detailed analysis report for each case was prepared. The protocol was devised to provide both a detailed description of the professional analysis performed, as well as conclusions of the analysis and comparison to both historical diagnosis and to the parallel stained H&E slide.
[0440] Each case [both “H&E stained slide” and “Zetiq stained slide” (a slide stained according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention)] was first analyzed by Zetiq professional pathologist (Pathologist 1). Following completion of analysis and written report, the slides were transferred to a second, independent, review and analysis, performed by an external expert pathologist (Pathologist 2).
[0441] All reports were thoroughly reviewed by Zetiq. The data within the reports were used to compile the results of the clinical trial. A Meta analysis excel table was prepared, and used to analyze the results.
[0442] Experimental Results and Analysis of the Clinical Trial
[0443] Case Analysis
[0444] Table 3, hereinbelow, categorizes the cases into the disease groups as depicted in the clinical protocol.
[0445] 
[00003] [TABLE-US-00003]
  TABLE 3
 
  Cases categorized according to clinical diagnosis groups
    Historical diagnosis   Number of cases
 
    Normal   22
    CIN - ⅔ [dysplasia]   18
    SCC [Cancer]   20
 
  Description of samples. CIN = cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; SCC—squamous cell carcinoma. Numbers which follow the “CIN” or “SCC” historical diagnosis represent grading of cancer. Historical diagnosis was based on a biopsy slide stained with H & E.
[0446] Table 4, hereinbelow, compiles the data comparing diagnosis of the cervical smear slides based on the results of the staining method of the invention as described herein as compared with the historical diagnosis, which is based on H&E staining.
[0447] 
[00004] [TABLE-US-00004]
  TABLE 4
 
  Analysis of the staining method of the invention in comparison to
  historical diagnosis
    % of match (analysis of   % of match (analysis of
  Historical diagnosis   pathologist 1)   Pathologist 2)
 
  Normal   95.45(1)   100
  CIN   100   100
  SCC   100 80(2)
 
  Presented are the percentages of success of the staining method of the invention as compared to the historical diagnosis of each case.
(1)In one case, in which the historical diagnosis was normal, the cervical tissue sections was diagnosed as CIN1 by Pathologist 1 after examination of both H&E slide and slide stained according to the staining method of the invention.
(2)Four cases, in which the historical diagnoses were SCC, were diagnosed as CIN3 by Pathologist 2 after examination of both H&E slide and slide stained by the staining method of the invention.
[0448] Table 5, hereinbelow, compiles the data comparing diagnostic results of the staining method of the invention to the parallel H&E staining.
[0449] 
[00005] [TABLE-US-00005]
  TABLE 5
 
  Analysis of the staining method of the invention in comparison to H&E
  slide diagnosis
    Historical   % of success (analysis of   % of success (analysis of
    diagnosis   pathologist 1)   pathologist 2)
 
    Normal   100   100
    CIN   100   100
    SCC   100   100
 
[0450] From the analysis presented in Table 5 above, it seems that the staining method of some embodiments of the invention is at least as accurate as the currently practiced H&E staining method in diagnosing cervical cancer from tissue biopsies.
[0451] Representative histological sections of this study are shown in FIGS. 1A-B and 8A-D (normal cervix); 12A-D and 13A-D (low-grade CIN1 dysplasia); 2A-B and 11A-D [middle-grade cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN2)]; 10A-D (high-grade CIN3 dysplasia); and 3A-B and 9A-D [squamous cell carcinoma of cervix]. Thus, while in normal cervix the epithelia cells which are stained according to the staining method of some embodiments of the invention exhibit blue/green cytoplasm (see e.g., FIG. 1A), the neoplastic cells of the cervix neoplasma have reddish-purple cytoplasm in sections stained according to the staining method of the invention (see e.g., FIG. 2A). In contrast, the H&E staining fails to tinctorially distinguish normal from CIN cells (FIG. 2B). Moreover, as shown in FIGS. 13A-B the transition from red (abnormal) to blue (normal) cells enables correct grading of CIN1 dysplasia, which is not easily detected by the H&E staining (FIGS. 13C and D) and can be frequently misdiagnosed. In addition, the malignant cells of the squamous cell carcinoma have uniform reddish cytoplasm in the preparations stained according to the staining method of the invention (FIG. 3A).
[0452] Region Analysis
[0453] In addition to the analysis of cases, the present inventors have performed analysis of regions. This was made possible, as in most cases there was more than one distinct region for analysis. The analysis was performed by Pathologist 1. In each report, Pathologist 1 carefully marked and analyzed each region, comparing the morphological diagnosis of the region to the color diagnosis. Table 6, hereinbelow, shows the result of this analysis.
[0454] 
[00006] [TABLE-US-00006]
  TABLE 6
 
  Analysis of slides stained by the method of the invention according to regions
      Regions   Regions    
      showing   showing   Regions   Regions
      normal cells   normal cells   showing   showing
      with green   with red   atypical cells   atypical cells
  Morphological   Number   cytoplasm   cytoplasm   with green   with red
  Diagnosis   of regions   (%)   (%)   cytoplasm (%)   cytoplasm (%)
 
  Normal   47   100%   0%   no cells   no cells
  CIN 1   6   100%   0%   0%   100%
  CIN 2   17   100%   0%   0%   100%
  CIN 3   23   no cells   no cells   0%   100%
  SCC   37   no cells   no cells   0%   100%
 
  Total number of regions: 130.
[0455] Analysis of Match Between Morphology and Color—
[0456] The above Tables depict an almost perfect match between the diagnosis of the staining method of the invention to both historical diagnosis as well as the parallel H&E slides. This diagnosis is achieved by combined morphological and color analyses. In a few cases, certain regions showed staining that did not conform with the morphology, as follows:
[0457] In certain SCC regions, some cells or sub-regions are stained blue. These cells and sub-regions appear to be well differentiated. This observation does not interfere with the correct diagnosis. In fact, this observation adds credibility to the stain in such that the staining differentiates cells according to their “phenotype”.
[0458] In 7 regions (of 130 total regions), certain regions or sub regions contained color cell analysis that did not conform to the morphological analysis of these cells/regions. These few (˜5% of total regions) observed regions did not alter the overall analysis of the slide, as each region was correctly diagnosed based on morphology, and overall combination of color and morphology in all regions of the case enabled correct diagnosis. There are a few explanations for these observations:
[0459] In a few normal regions, the basal layer of the epithelial region is dense. These basal cells have enlarged nuclei that are colored dark red. As little cytoplasm is present in these cells, and as cytoplasm is used to analyze cell color, the region can be classified as red, when in fact the cytoplasm staining is blue. In such instances, careful high magnification analysis is recommended.
[0460] Regions located at the edge of the biopsy can be rugged and not well preserved. It seems that in such regions the cells tend to over stain red.
[0461] One normal case showing parakeratosis as much red staining occurred due to the large amount of keratin. Keratin is stained bright red by staining method of the invention, and this color can be usually distinguished from the darker red positive staining.
[0462] In two CIN2 regions, the “normal” layer above the atypical cell layer was stained red. This could be due to partial over staining, or to the need to conduct high magnification analysis of these regions to locate normal cells stained green, as many times these cells are flattened at the outer layer.
[0463] Inter-Observatory Analysis
[0464] In one case historical diagnosis was normal. Pathologist 1 diagnosed this case as CIN1, while Pathologist 2 diagnosed this case as normal.
[0465] One case historical diagnosis was normal. The staining method of the invention resulted with red staining, which was noted as parakeratosis, as Keratin is mostly stained bright red and can be confused as not normal staining.
[0466] Four cases historically diagnosed as SCC, were diagnosed based on the staining method of the invention as CIN3 or SCC.
[0467] Conclusions
[0468] The study was designed to validate the staining method of some embodiments of the invention and the kit of some embodiments of the invention as an adjunct to the diagnosis of cervical neoplastic processes in cervical biopsies, and show non inferiority compared with conventional staining techniques.
[0469] Morphological analysis of cervical biopsy slides stained according to the staining method of the invention is excellent, comparable to H&E staining.
[0470] Diagnosis of slides stained according to the staining method of the invention gives exceptional results. When comparing to historical diagnosis there is a 0-4.5% false positives and no false negatives.
[0471] A very good (>95%) positive match between color and morphology was found. A few regions showing over red staining in normal cells were described. This over staining can mostly be explained by technical reasons. In all the cases containing these regions, the red staining did not cause misdiagnosis.
[0472] Low inter-observatory differences were found. In all but one case, these are attributed to differences between historical and current diagnosis, and are unrelated to the staining method of the invention (i.e., same diagnosis in H&E slide).
[0473] SCC regions contain many times cells and regions that alter to a differentiated phenotype. These can be stained blue, and actually lend support to the mechanism of action, correlating the staining method of the invention with the phenotype of the cell.
[0474] Correct diagnosis by the staining method of the invention is well achieved, as the stain enables positive diagnosis of borderline cases, and also enables correct differentiation between CIN grades.
[0475] In summary, this study clearly shows that diagnosis based on the staining method of the invention as described herein reaches the identical diagnosis made by the current gold standard of staining, while enabling a clear view of morphological features and correct grading of neoplasia.
[0476] These results demonstrate that the novel staining method of the invention has an exceptionally high specificity and sensitivity; it offers true dual analysis of color and morphology (offers a clear view of morphological features) for precise diagnosis of cervical cancer; and is superior to currently practiced methods in offering a precise grading method for cervical dysplasia (atypia, but not cancer) and neoplasia (including cancer) based on color discrimination.
[0477] The first part of the study entailed calibration and optimization of the staining process towards cervical biopsies, including reproducibility tests. Following completion of this part, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was written and used throughout the remainder of the study.
[0478] The main part of the study included staining of all cases using the staining method of the invention and comparison to the current method in use (H&E stain for histological biopsies) according to the diagram depicted in FIG. 19. The study results show 100% concordance of staining method according to some embodiments of the invention based diagnosis with H&E based diagnosis, and a high level of agreement (95-100%) between the pathologists in assigning diagnoses based on the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention. The additional utility parameters of staining method according to some embodiments of the invention resulting from this study are:
[0479] Clear morphological visualization;
[0480] High degree of matching (correlation) between the color discrimination and morphological based diagnosis;
[0481] Ease in identifying regions of early dysplasia (CIN1); and
[0482] Precise establishment of grade of dysplasia and simple color differentiation between CIN2 and CIN3 dysplasia.
[0483] These important traits are well exemplified in the study slides. Whereas H&E Staining relies solely on morphological visualization using high magnification, staining method according to some embodiments of the invention enables detection, diagnosis & grading of dysplasia (CIN) by following the laminar vertical extent of red/purple cells through the depth of the epithelium, in addition to the classical morpho-cytological criteria.

Example 2

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer by Staining Conventional Cervical Smears

[0484] The study was designed to optimize and validate the ability of staining method of the invention to detect cervical cancer using a cervical smear. The study is an open label learning and calibration study of cervical smears with known pathology, intended for the optimization of the staining procedure and testing its feasibility in detecting cervical cancer.
[0485] Materials and Experimental Methods
[0486] Cervical smears on microscopical slides.
[0487] Protocol of Staining Conventional Cervical Smears:
[0488] Slides were washed in 100% Ethanol (EtOH) for 20 minutes, followed by a wash in double distilled water (DDW). Slides were then stained with Hematoxylin (ready for use solution) for 1 minute, rinsed under running Tap water for 2 minutes and washed in DDW for 10 seconds. Slides were then incubated with the Ficus elastics plant extract for 4 minutes, washed in DDW and incubated with 0.5% NF (New Fuchsin) in 20% EtOH for 2 minutes. Slides were then washed in DDW for 10 seconds, followed by 20 dips (each dip of slide last for 1 second) in 50% EtOH and washed in DDW for 10 seconds. Slides were then stained with 4% Light Green in 20% EtOH for 5.5 minutes, washed in DDW for 10 seconds and air dried for 30 minutes. Slides were mounted with Eukitt (Sigma Cat No 03989) and closed with cover slips.
[0489] Experimental Results
[0490] Identification of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Conventional Cervical Smears—
[0491] Cervical smear slides obtained from a subject diagnosed with postmenopausal bleeding were stained as described herein. Another slide from the same patient was stained by the Pap staining method. Analysis of the slide stained by the staining method of the invention revealed discriminative cell staining: the cytoplasm of the cancer cells were stained red, while the cytoplasm of the normal cells including inflammatory cells stained with green. Thus, as shown in FIGS. 4A-D, using staining method of the invention as described herein, cancer cells are easily identifiable, showing bright red even at low magnification such as ×4 (FIG. 4B). In contrast, at such a magnification it is impossible to detect a cancer cell with the Pap staining (FIG. 4D).
[0492] These results show that in conventional cytology, used for screening of cervical cancer, the staining method of the invention readily detects the cancer cells amongst normal cell population, providing sensitive and specific color discrimination. These results demonstrate the power of the staining method of the invention to identify a single cancer cell, even at ×4 magnification power.
[0493] The Staining Method of the Invention Exhibits a Higher Sensitivity in Detecting Cervical Cancer Using Conventional Cervical Smears as Compared to Currently Practiced Methods—
[0494] A pilot cervical conventional cytology on-going study is currently performed in two sites: The Hungarian National Institute of Oncology, and Maccabi HMO in Israel. To date, 64 cases were included in the study. The categorization of the cases according to diagnosis groups is presented in Table 7 below.
[0495] 
[00007] [TABLE-US-00007]
  TABLE 7
 
  N   Histological diagnosis
 
 
  24   Normal
  6   CIN -1 [early dysplasia]
  24   CIN - ⅔ [moderate to severe dysplasia]
  10   Squamous Cell Carcinoma [SCC, cancer]
 
  “N” = number of cases in each category.

The result of this study are summarized in the Table 8 below.
[0496] 
[00008] [TABLE-US-00008]
  TABLE 8
 
    Specificity   Sensitivity   Staining method
 
 
    85   95   Pap test
    85   97.5   staining method according to some
        embodiments of the invention
    24   88   HPV test
 
  “Pap text” - currently practiced Papanikolaou staining; “HPV test” - human papillomavirus test.
[0497] The current data strongly indicates that the diagnosis based on the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention is superior to current methods and shows a significantly increased sensitivity and specificity in comparison to prior art methods.

Example 3

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer by Staining Liquid Based Slides (Thin-Prep™ Slides) and Comparison to Other Diagnostic Methods

[0498] This study was designed to validate the staining method and kits of some embodiments of the invention as an adjunct to the diagnosis of cervical neoplastic processes in cervical cytology. This open labeled study was conducted on cervical samples with a known diagnosis, collected at Meir medical center or at Maccabi HMO in Israel. To obtain cervical samples with known diagnosis, subjects were recruited to the study upon visiting the medical facility (e.g., the colposcopy clinic) for follow up examinations following a suspected atypia. This protocol further served to increase the percent of subjects with dysplasia, which are of low prevalence in the general population. Accordingly, the percentage of subjects with dysplasia in this study was high.
[0499] The first part of this study entailed calibration and optimization of the staining process towards cervical cell monolayer, including reproducibility tests. FIG. 20 depicts a schematic diagram of the study design. Following completion of this part, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was written and used throughout the remainder of the study. The main part of the study included staining of all cases using the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention and comparison to the current method in use, the H&E stain.
[0500] A total of 74 cases were included in the study. The categorization of the cases according to diagnosis groups (made by H&E staining) is presented in the Table 9 below:
[0501] 
[00009] [TABLE-US-00009]
  TABLE 9
 
  N   Histological diagnosis
 
 
  49   Normal
  9   CIN - 1 [early dysplasia]
  16   CIN - ⅔ [moderate to severe dysplasia]
 
  “N” - number of cases in each category.
[0502] Preparation of Liquid-Base Slides—
[0503] Samples were Collected to a Liquid Based preservative (PreserveCyt®, Hologics, USA), and transferred to a pathology laboratory (LEM, Rehovot, ISRAEL), where the liquid samples were processed by a designated device to prepare multiple slides. Briefly, for the preparation of liquid-based slides the cells were collected from the vagina, cervix, and/or cervical canal using a brush and were immediately introduced into a liquid preservative [PreserveCyt®, Hologics, USA) solution, methanol 30-60%, water 40-70%] and were put in the ThinPrep™ machine (Hologics, USA), which filters out the cells from the solution while removing contaminants such as blood and mucus which frequently obscure cells in the traditional cervical smear. The cells were then deposited in a thin and uniform monolayer on glass slides. From each cervical sample one ThinPrep™ slide was stained by the currently practiced Pap staining method, (Papanicolaou staining) while another slide was stained by the staining method of the invention as described hereinbelow.
[0504] HPV Testing—
[0505] In parallel, aliquots of the liquid samples (prepared using the liquid preservative [PreserveCyt® (Hologics, USA)] as described above were subjected to HPV (human papillomavirus) analysis.
[0506] Materials and Experimental Methods
[0507] ThinPrep™ slides with cervical cells.
[0508] Protocol of Staining Cervical Liquid-Based Slides (ThinPrep™):
[0509] Slides were incubated in 10% Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) for 1 hour, washed 4 times with running deionized water from both sides, and then the back of the slide (the side not containing the cervical specimen, cells) was dried on paper towel. The slides were then incubated in Hematoxylin Harris solution for 9 minutes, washed in a jar filled with tap water for 1 minute, washed 4 times in running deionized water from both sides and then the back of the slide was dried on paper towel. The slides were incubated in the Ficus elastics plant extract solution for 2 minutes, washed 4 times in running deionized water from both sides and then the back of the slide was dried on paper towel. The slides were incubated in the New Fuchsin solution (0.5% in 20% Ethanol) for 1 minute, washed 4 times with running deionized water from both sides and then the back of the slide was dried on paper towel. The slides were then dipped slowly, 35 times, into 50% Ethanol solution (each dip lasts for 2 seconds), washed 4 times with running deionized water from both sides and then the back of the slide was dried on paper towel. The slides were incubated in the Light Green solution (4% in 20% Ethanol) for 2 minutes, washed 4 times with running deionized water from both sides and then the back of the slide was dried on paper towel. The slides were dipped, 10 times, in 40% Ethanol solution (each dip lasts for 1 second), washed 4 times with running deionized water from both sides and then the back of the slide was dried on paper towel. The slides were dried face down once on a delicate wiper, and air-dried overnight. The slides were closed with cover slip using mounting medium.
[0510] Experimental Results
[0511] The Staining Method of the Invention Enables Detection of Cervical Cancer at Low Magnification Using Liquid-Based Cervical Monolayers—
[0512] FIGS. 5A-D, 6A-F and 7A-F show representative pictures taken from this study, demonstrating the ability of the staining method of the invention to detect cervical cancer from cervical cell monolayer (such as ThinPrep™), even at low magnification such as an Objective magnification of ×4, in which it is impossible to detect cervical cancer or atypical cells using other staining methods such as Pap staining.
[0513] The Staining Method of the Invention Provides a Significantly Higher Sensitivity Yet a Comparable Specificity with Respect to Currently Practiced Pap Stain—
[0514] 74 cases were analyzed. The diagnosis of each subject was made based on by H&E staining of cervical biopsies tissue sections. For each case, the liquid-base slides were stained with the conventional Pap staining and the staining method of the invention as described herein, and were independently analyzed by a pathologist. In parallel, a liquid cervical sample was analyzed by HPV testing. The sensitivity and specificity of the staining method of the invention as compared to those of Pap staining and HPV testing was compared based on the H&E diagnosis. The results are shown in Table 10, hereinbelow.
[0515] 
[00010] [TABLE-US-00010]
  TABLE 10
 
  Specificity   Sensitivity   Staining method
 
  78%   80%   Pap test
  76%   90%   Staining method according to some embodiments
      of the invention
  38%   92%   HPV test
 
[0516] Analysis of the results reveals that:
[0517] The staining method of the invention exhibits a comparable specificity to that of the Pap test, and a much higher specificity as compared to the HPV test.
[0518] The staining method of the invention exhibits a greater sensitivity as compared to the Pap test, and similar sensitivity to the HPV test.
[0519] All dysplastic cases identified by the Pap test were also identified by the staining method according to some embodiments of the invention; The staining method of the invention correctly identified dysplastic (pre-malignant) cases missed out by the Pap test (Table 10; see the increased sensitivity of the staining method of some embodiments of the invention).
[0520] As demonstrated in the study, the staining method of the invention enables simple and reliable detection of Cervical Dysplasia by means of color discrimination at low magnification with concomitant morphological analysis at higher magnification, whereas Pap staining requires high magnification with no color discrepancy resulting in many missed out cases.
[0521] This study clearly shows that cytological diagnosis based on the staining method of the invention is superior to current methods (has a sensitivity higher than Pap test and a specificity which is higher than the HPV test), and shows the potential to augment the current drawbacks present in such methods. The staining method of the invention offers a clear view of morphological features, and enables a clear detection of atypical cells based on color discrimination.
[0522] It is important to state that the analysis performed when screening for cervical atypia is more stringent. This would explain why in the literature the false negative rates of Pap staining are much larger, on average, by approximately 50%. By using the staining method of the invention, a much lower false negative rate is believed to be achieved in the screening setting. The clear ability for simple detection of atypical cervical cells makes the staining method of the invention an attractive method in screening settings and may reduce the level of expertise required for identification of suspected cervical dysplasia.
[0523] In summary, these results show very good sensitivity and specificity of the staining method of the invention in liquid-based cervical monolayer slides such as ThinPrep™ slides. It is clear that the staining method of the invention is superior as compared with conventional staining techniques using the same type of cervical slides.

Example 4

Improved Method of Differentially Staining Cancerous or Pre-Cancerous Cells in Conventional Cervical Smears

[0524] Following is a non-limiting example of a protocol for staining of cervical smears for detection of cancerous or pre-cancerous cervical cancer cells.
[0525] Slides were fixed in a solution of about 10% Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) for one hour. Slides were then washed by running double distilled water (DDW), distilled water (DW) or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were stained with Hematoxylin for about 9 minutes and subsequently washed by running tap water for 1 minute and then by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were incubated with a plant extract solution (Ficus) for about 4 minutes. Following the incubation with the plant extract, the slides were washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were incubated with a New Fuchsin solution [0.25% in 10% ethanol (EtOH)] for 1 minute. Following incubation with New Fuchsin the slides were washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds and subsequently dipped for about 10 times in 50% EtOH and then washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds, incubated with a Light Green solution (0.2% in 1% EtOH) and washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were then dipped about 7 times in 40% EtOH, and subsequently washed by running DDW, DW or de-ionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were then air-dried for at least 30 minutes, dipped in 100% Xylene and closed with a cover slip and a mounting medium (Entellan).
[0526] Non-limiting examples of cervical cell samples stained according to this protocol are provided in FIGS. 14 [identification of low grade dysplasia cells (LSIL)], 15 [identification of high grade dysplasia cells (HSIL)] and 16 [identification of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)] using conventional cervical smears.

Example 5

Differential Staining of Cancerous or Pre-Cancerous Cervical Cells Using Fast Green, Ficus Extract and New Fuchsin

[0527] The following protocol was used for analyzing cervical cells present in a liquid-based sample such as Thin Prep, but can also be used on conventional cervical smears and cervical tissue biopsy.
[0528] Slides containing the cervical cells (specimens) were fixed in a solution of 10% Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) for one hour, and washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were then incubated in Hematoxylin (Hematoxylin solution modified according to Gill III for microscopy, or Hematoxylin Harris) for about 9 minutes and washed by running tap water for 1 minute, followed by a further was by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. Following hematoxylin staining, the slides were incubated with the plant extract solution (Ficus) for 4 about minutes (Range from 1 min to 10 min), and then washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were then incubated in the New Fuchsin solution (0.5% in 20% EtOH) for about 1 minute and then washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were then incubated in Fast Green solution (1% in 20% EtOH) for about 45 seconds and washed by running DDW, DW or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were then dipped (about 10 times) in a 40% ethanol solution (Range of dips from 5 to 20. Range % of EtOH from 5% to 70%) and subsequently washed by running DDW, DW, or deionized water for 10 seconds. The slides were air dried for at least 30 minutes and then dipped in 100% Xylene. Slides were closed using a cover slip and a mounting medium such as Entellan.
[0529] A non-limiting example of a cervical cell sample (liquid-based cervical monolayer) stained according to this protocol is provided in FIG. 17 in which Fast green is used instead of Light green. Note the cluster of high grade dysplasia cells (HSIL) present in the sample. The HSIL cells have red nuclear color, and pink cytoplasm.
[0530] Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.
[0531] All publications, patents and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated in their entirety by reference into the specification, to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated herein by reference. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in this application shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention. To the extent that section headings are used, they should not be construed as necessarily limiting.
(57)

Claims

1. A method for differential staining a liquid-based cervical monolayer cell sample, the method comprising the steps of:
(i) incubating a liquid-based cervical monolayer cell sample devoid of blood cells with trichloroacetic acid;
(ii) contacting the cervical cell sample with a Ficus elastics plant extract,
(iii) staining the cervical cell sample with new fuchsin,
(iv) staining the cervical cell sample with light green or fast green, and
(v) staining the cervical cell sample with an agent which differentially stains mucin in the cervical cell sample in a color distinguishable from the color obtained by staining with new fuchsin, light green and fast green to differentially stain the cervical cell sample.
2. A method of diagnosing a pre-malignant or a malignant cervical tumor in a subject, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) staining a liquid-based cervical monolayer cell sample of the subject according to the method of claim 1, to obtain a stained cervical cell sample,
(b) identifying at least one cervical cell of said cervical cell sample having a red cytoplasm above a predetermined threshold, wherein a presence of said at least one cervical cell having said red cytoplasm above said predetermined threshold is indicative of a non- or less differentiated cell as compared to a normal cervical cell, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising the step of detecting an expression level of a cervical malignant marker or a cervical pre-malignant marker in at least one cervical cell of the cervical cell sample, wherein an expression level above a pre-determined threshold is indicative that said at least one cervical cell is a malignant or a pre-malignant cell, respectively, thereby diagnosing the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein said cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker is selected from the group consisting of: ki67 antigen (antigen identified by monoclonal antibody Ki-67), Mtn2, Hypoxiainducible factor 1-alpha, Id-1, p161 NK 4a, p21 WAF1/CI P1, Tn antigen, P53 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen.
5. The method of claim 3, further comprising the step of:
(c) analyzing a morphology of said at least one cervical cell having said red cytoplasm above said pre-determined threshold, wherein a presence of an abnormal morphology in said same cell having said red cytoplasm above said pre-determined threshold as compared to a morphology of a normal cervical cell sample indicates the positive diagnosis of the pre-malignant or the malignant cervical tumor in the subject.
6. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of:
(vi) staining the cervical cell sample with hematoxylin.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of digesting the mucin in the cervical cell sample with an enzyme prior to said staining with new fuchsin.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of mounting the stained cervical cell sample with amounting medium comprising an anti-oxidant.
9. The method of claim 2, wherein said pre-malignant or malignant cervical tumor is selected from the group consisting of: an intraepithelial neoplasia, a squamous intraepithelial lesion, carcinoma in situ, invasive carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinoma.
10. The method of claim 6, wherein said step of staining said cervical cell sample with hematoxylin is effected prior to said step of contacting said cervical cell sample with Ficus elastics plant extract.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein said Ficus elastics plant extract is selected from the group consisting of: a crude Ficus elastics plant extract, a crude ethanol extract of the Ficus elastics plant, a crude ethanol extract of the Ficus elastics plant, an ethanol extract of leaf tissue of Ficus elastics plant and proanthocyanidins.
12. The method of claim 3, wherein said step of detecting the expression level of said cervical malignant or said cervical pre-malignant marker is performed using a high affinity agent selected from the group consisting of: an antibody which specifically binds to said cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker and a polynucleotide.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein said polynucleotide is selected from the group consisting of a polynucleotide which specifically hybridizes to an RNA encoding said cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker and a polynucleotide which specifically amplifies said cervical malignant or cervical pre-malignant marker.
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