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.