Centrosomal abnormality is common in and a potential biomarker for bladder cancer

Int J Cancer. 2003 Sep 20;106(5):661-5. doi: 10.1002/ijc.11251.


Centrosomal abnormalities have been implicated in chromosomal segregation aberrations that result from the formation of multipolar mitotic spindles and lead to aneuploidy. Aneuploidy is a characteristic of neoplasia and underlies the development and progression of bladder cancer. Therefore, centrosomal abnormality may play a key role in urothelial tumor transformation. The purpose of our investigation was to determine whether centrosomal abnormalities are present in malignant urothelial cells, define the relationship between centrosomal abnormalities and aneuploidy and determine whether the presence of centrosomal abnormalities might be a potential diagnostic marker for bladder cancer. Bladder wash specimens obtained from patients with and without a history of urothelial carcinoma were analyzed for centrosomal abnormalities using an immunoassay with a gamma-tubulin antibody. FISH with centromeric probes for chromosomes 4 and 9 and DNA ploidy image analysis were performed to detect aneuploidy. Defective centrosomes were found in 40 of 45 bladder wash specimens from patients with bladder cancer but in none of the 10 samples from patients without it. A large percentage (69%) of grade 1 tumors were positive for centrosomal abnormalities, and these abnormalities were increasing in numbers and size in grade 2 (93%) and grade 3 (100%) specimens. Centrosomal abnormalities and numerical chromosomal aberrations frequently appeared concomitantly in the same malignant cells. All of the specimens showing aneuploidy also exhibited centrosomal abnormalities: centrosomal defects and aneuploidy occurred together in 80% of malignant bladder tumors, with an especially high percentage in higher-grade tumors. The overall positivity of centrosomal abnormalities was higher than that of aneuploidy (88% vs. 80%), especially in grade 1 tumors (69% vs. 46%), whereas aneuploidy was strongly associated with grade 2 and grade 3 tumors. Centrosomal abnormalities are common in bladder cancer, even in low-grade tumors, and strongly associated with cancer grade and aneuploidy, especially in high-grade neoplasms. Centrosomal abnormalities appear to be intrinsic to aneuploidy and tumorigenesis and may be potential markers for early detection of bladder cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Centrosome / pathology*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Image Cytometry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Karyotyping
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tubulin / metabolism
  • Urinary Bladder / metabolism
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Tubulin