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Volume 9 (2009), Pages 1360-1373
Research Article

Molecular Markers in Upper Urothelial Carcinoma Associated to Balkan Endemic Nephropathy. Aristolochic Acid as the Major Risk Factor of the Worldwide Disease

1Institute of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Serbia
2Department of Pathology, Shiga University of Medical Science, Ohtsu, Japan
3Institute of Nephrology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Serbia

Received 7 August 2009; Revised 3 December 2009; Accepted 4 December 2009

Academic Editor: Anthony Atala

Copyright © 2009 Ljubinka Jankovic Velickovic et al.


The role of aristolochic acid in the etiology of Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) and associated upper urothelial carcinoma (UUC) was recently confirmed. The aim of this study was to determine the marker(s) specific for BEN-associated UUC. A total of 82 patients with UUC (38 from the BEN region and 44 control tumors) were included in the study. The Ki-67 index in BEN tumors correlated with the grade and multifocality (p < 0.05), but in regression analysis, only the grade of BEN tumor. The p53 index was significantly higher in BEN than in control tumors (p < 0.05), as well as the alteration of p53 (p < 0.05). BEN low-stage tumors, tumors without limphovascular invasion (LVI), and tumors of the renal pelvis had a higher p53 index than the control tumors (p < 0.05, 0.01, 0.05, respectively). The Ki-67 index was higher in control tumors with high-stage and solid growth than in BEN UUC (p < 0.050, 0.005). The Ki-67 correlated with the grade, growth, stage, LVI, and multifocality of UUC on the best way, but not with the group. In regression analysis, only multifocality of UUC had predictive influence on Ki-67 activity (p < 0.001). P53 correlated with the grade, growth, and group (p < 0.05). This investigation identifies the p53 pathway as the specific cell cycle marker involved in BEN-associated UUC.