Open Access Research

Aurora Kinase A expression is associated with lung cancer histological-subtypes and with tumor de-differentiation

Marco Lo Iacono*, Valentina Monica, Silvia Saviozzi, Paolo Ceppi, Enrico Bracco, Mauro Papotti and Giorgio V Scagliotti

Author Affiliations

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2011, 9:100  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-9-100

Published: 30 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Aurora kinase A (AURKA) is a member of serine/threonine kinase family. Several kinases belonging to this family are activated in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle being involved in mitotic chromosomal segregation. AURKA overexpression is significantly associated with neoplastic transformation in several tumors and deregulated Aurora Kinases expression leads to chromosome instability, thus contributing to cancer progression. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the expression of AURKA in non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) specimens and to correlate its mRNA or protein expression with patients' clinico-pathological features.

Materials and methods

Quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry analysis on matched cancer and corresponding normal tissues from surgically resected non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) have been performed aiming to explore the expression levels of AURKA gene.

Results

AURKA expression was significantly up-modulated in tumor samples compared to matched lung tissue (p < 0.01, mean log2(FC) = 1.5). Moreover, AURKA was principally up-modulated in moderately and poorly differentiated lung cancers (p < 0.01), as well as in squamous and adenocarcinomas compared to the non-invasive bronchioloalveolar histotype (p = 0.029). No correlation with survival was observed.

Conclusion

These results indicate that in NSCLC AURKA over-expression is restricted to specific subtypes and poorly differentiated tumors.