Urine sample may indicate bladder cancer

September 24th, 2008 - 3:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 24 (IANS) Counting copies of a specific gene in cells gathered from a urine sample may provide a non-invasive way to detect bladder cancer, according to Texas University researchers. When the telltale gene, Aurora kinase A, is numerous and overexpressed in urothelial cells (lining the bladder), errors during cell division follow, the team also found. The new cells have too few or too many chromosomes, instead of the normal pairs of 23 chromosomes.

“Abnormal chromosome counts are the most fundamental feature - the signature - of human cancers,” said senior co-author Bogdan Czerniak, professor in M.D Anderson Department of Pathology at Texas.

“We have further clarified the role that the Aurora kinase A gene (AURKA) plays in this misaggregation of chromosomes in bladder cancer,” he said.

“As a biomarker, Aurora kinase A can detect bladder cancer in voided urine with high degrees of sensitivity and specificity,” Czerniak said.

Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the US, with an estimated 68,000 new cases and about 14,000 deaths annually, reports Eurekalert. The findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The team used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to count copies of the gene in urothelial cells from the bladder culled from urine samples.

A blinded analysis of samples from 23 bladder cancer patients and seven cancer-free controls showed the AURKA biomarker identified all 23 cancer cases and correctly characterised six of the seven controls as not having bladder cancer.

The biomarker test was validated in urine samples from a separate group of 100 bladder cancer patients and 148 controls.

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