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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Jul 15;14(14):4455-62. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-5268.

Expression of Aurora A (but not Aurora B) is predictive of survival in breast cancer.

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Department of Medicine and Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.



The cell cycle mediators Aurora A and B are targets of drugs currently in clinical development. As with other targeted therapies in breast cancer, response to therapy might be associated with target expression in tumors. We therefore assessed expression of Aurora A and B in breast tumors and studied associations with clinical/pathologic variables.


Tissue microarrays containing primary specimens from 638 patients with 15-year follow-up were employed to assess expression of Aurora A and B using our automated quantitative analysis method; we used cytokeratin to define pixels as breast cancer (tumor mask) within the array spot and measured Aurora A and B expression within the mask using Cy5-conjugated antibodies.


Aurora A and B expression was variable in primary breast tumors. High Aurora A expression was strongly associated with decreased survival (P = 0.0005). On multivariable analysis, it remained an independent prognostic marker. High Aurora A expression was associated with high nuclear grade and high HER-2/neu and progesterone receptor expression. Aurora B expression was not associated with survival.


Aurora A expression defines a population of patients with decreased survival, whereas Aurora B expression does not, suggesting that Aurora A might be the preferred drug target in breast cancer. Aurora A expression in early-stage breast cancer may identify a subset of patients requiring more aggressive or pathway-targeted treatment. Prospective studies are needed to confirm the prognostic role of Aurora A as well as the predictive role of Aurora A expression in patients treated with Aurora A inhibitors.

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