Validating the mitotic kinesin Eg5 as a therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer cells and tumor xenografts using a specific inhibitor

Biochem Pharmacol. 2008 Jul 15;76(2):169-78. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2008.04.018. Epub 2008 May 4.


Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with a high mortality rate. Treatment of this malignancy remains a big challenge in oncology, and none of the currently available chemotherapeutic agents has a remarkable impact on improving patient survival. Consequently, it is important to explore new targets and find effective drugs for the management of this disease. Here we report that inhibition of the mitotic kinesin Eg5 by a pharmacological compound effectively prevents the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells by halting mitotic progression, resulting in robust apoptosis. The mitotic arrest induced by this agent is attributed to its interference with spindle formation and activation of the spindle checkpoint. Impairment of the spindle checkpoint significantly compromises both mitotic arrest and apoptosis induced by the Eg5 inhibitor, suggesting the importance of the spindle checkpoint in monitoring Eg5 inhibitor sensitivity. Furthermore, treatment of nude mice bearing tumor xenografts of human pancreatic cancer results in pronounced tumor regression by triggering apoptosis. These data thus indicate Eg5 as a potential target for pancreatic cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Quinazolines / pharmacology*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use
  • Thiones / pharmacology*
  • Thiones / therapeutic use
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • KIF11 protein, human
  • Quinazolines
  • Thiones
  • dimethylenastron
  • Caspase 3
  • Kinesins