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Aurora-B protein expression is linked to initial response to taxane-based first-line chemotherapy in stage III ovarian carcinoma
  1. S Beussel1,
  2. A Hasenburg1,
  3. L Bogatyreva2,
  4. D Hauschke2,
  5. M Werner3,
  6. S Lassmann3
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics, University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany
  3. 3Institute of Pathology, University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Silke Lassmann, Institute of Pathology, University Medical Center, Breisacherstrasse 115A, Freiburg 79106, Germany; silke.lassmann{at}


Aims Aurora kinases are central to cell proliferation and considered to be prognostic/predictive markers and therapeutic targets for epithelial cancers. Here, the prognostic/predictive value of Aurora-B protein expression was evaluated in patients with serous, FIGO stage III ovarian carcinomas treated with taxane- or platinum-based first-line chemotherapy (1st-CTx).

Methods Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarrays, including 80 ovarian carcinomas and 18 non-neoplastic ovaries, previously characterised for Aurora-A protein expression. None or marginal (score 0+1), moderate (score 2) and strong (score 3) Aurora-B protein expression was correlated with clinico-pathological parameters as well as recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results While non-neoplastic ovaries were negative for Aurora-B, almost all (79/80; 99%) ovarian carcinomas exhibited Aurora-B positive tumour cells, with score 1 in 41/80 (51%), score 2 in 23/80 (29%) and score 3 in 15/80 (19%) cases. Aurora-B and Aurora-A protein expression correlated significantly (p=0.002). In optimal debulked patients, Aurora-B protein expression was associated with RFS (p=0.011, n=53) and marginally with OS (p=0.460; n=53). Moreover, Aurora-B protein expression was predictive for RFS of optimal debulked patients with taxane-based (p=0.006; n=32), but not with platinum-based (p=0.720; n=20) 1st-CTx. Aurora-B protein expression was not linked to OS in optimal debulked patients with either of the two 1st-CTx.

Conclusions Aurora-B protein expression frequently occurs in serous, FIGO stage III ovarian carcinomas, making it a ‘drugable’ molecular target in the majority of ovarian carcinoma patients. Moreover, Aurora-B protein expression is predictive for initial response to taxane-based 1st-CTx in optimal debulked, late stage ovarian carcinoma patients.

  • Aurora kinases
  • ovarian carcinoma
  • prognostic/predictive marker
  • cancer research
  • tumour biology
  • molecular pathology
  • ploidy
  • molecular biology

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  • Funding The study was part of a collaborative project funded by the Robert-Bosch Stiftung (grant to SL, MW).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the local ethics committee (#97/05; Ethics Committee, Albert-Ludwig's University, Freiburg, Germany).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.