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Test Using AURKA Gene Points to Bladder Cancer

Overexpression of Aurora kinase A can cause urothelial aneuploidy, gene copy number may offer disease biomarker

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The Aurora kinase A (AURKA) gene -- which promotes progression in several tumors when overexpressed, including urothelial carcinoma -- may provide a novel biomarker for bladder cancer, according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Hong-Seok Park, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues conducted in-vitro transfection studies in which urothelial cells were forced to overexpress AURKA. This overexpression induced amplification of centrosomes, chromosome missegregation and aneuploidy.

The investigators also analyzed urine samples from 23 patients with bladder cancer and seven controls using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH); all 23 patients had at least low levels of AURKA gene amplification. When validating these results on samples from another 100 bladder cancer patients and 148 controls, the FISH test provided a specificity of 96.6 and sensitivity of 87 percent.

"Our findings suggest that the AURKA FISH test may be more effective than cytology in detecting bladder cancer. Since the AURKA FISH test was positive in most of the cytology-negative cases, performing both tests may improve the detection of bladder cancer. However, a negative AURKA FISH test would not necessarily rule out bladder cancer," the authors write. "Overall, our data imply that analysis of the AURKA gene copy number by FISH in urine may be a promising non-invasive test for bladder cancer."

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