AURKA (the official symbol for Aurora-A, STK15, or BTAK) regulates the function of centrosomes, spindles, and kinetochores for proper mitotic progression. AURKA overexpression is observed in various cancers including colon cancer, and a link between AURKA and chromosomal instability (CIN) has been proposed. However, no study has comprehensively examined AURKA expression in relation to CIN or prognosis using a large number of tumors. Using 517 colorectal cancers in two prospective cohort studies, we detected AURKA overexpression (by immunohistochemistry) in 98 tumors (19%). We assessed other molecular events including loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in 2p, 5q, 17q, and 18q, the CpG island methylation phenotype (CIMP), and microsatellite instability (MSI). Prognostic significance of AURKA was evaluated by Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier method. In both univariate and multivariate logistic regressions, AURKA overexpression was significantly associated with CIN (defined as the presence of LOH in any of the chromosomal segments; multivariate odds ratio, 2.97; 95% confidence interval, 1.40–6.29; P = .0045). In multivariate analysis, AURKA was associated with cyclin D1 expression (P = .010) and inversely with PIK3CA mutation (P=.014), fatty acid synthase expression (P=.028), and family history of colorectal cancer (P = .050), but not with sex, age, body mass index, tumor location, stage, CIMP, MSI, KRAS, BRAF, BMI, LINE-1 hypomethylation, p53, p21, β-catenin, or cyclooxygenase 2. AURKA was not significantly associated with clinical outcome or survival. In conclusion, AURKA overexpression is independently associated with CIN in colorectal cancer, supporting a potential role of Aurora kinase-A in colorectal carcinogenesis through genomic instability (rather than epigenomic instability)
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