Aurora inhibitor MLN8237 in combination with docetaxel enhances apoptosis and anti-tumor activity in mantle cell lymphoma

Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Apr 1;81(7):881-90. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2011.01.017. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Auroras (A and B) are oncogenic serine/threonine kinases that play key roles in the mitotic phase of the eukaryotic cell cycle. Analysis of the leukemia lymphoma molecular profiling project (LLMPP) database indicates Aurora over-expression correlates with poor prognosis. A tissue microarray (TMA) composed of 20 paired mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) patients demonstrated >75% of patients had high levels Aurora expression. Aurora A and B were also found elevated in 13 aggressive B-NHL cell lines. MLN8237, an Aurora inhibitor induced G2/M arrest with polyploidy and abrogated Aurora A and histone-H3 phosphorylation. MLN8237 inhibited aggressive B-NHL cell proliferation at an IC(50) of 10-50 nM and induced apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Low dose combinations of MLN8237+docetaxel enhanced apoptosis by ~3-4-fold in cell culture compared to single agents respectively. A mouse xenograft model of MCL demonstrated that MLN8237 (10 or 30 mg/kg) or docetaxel (10mg/kg) alone had modest anti-tumor activity. However, MLN8237 plus docetaxel demonstrated a statistically significant tumor growth inhibition and enhanced survival compared to single agent therapy. Together, our results suggest that MLN8237 plus docetaxel may represent a novel therapeutic strategy that could be evaluated in early phase trials in relapsed/refractory aggressive B-cell NHL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Aurora Kinase A
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Azepines / administration & dosage
  • Azepines / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Docetaxel
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Taxoids / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Azepines
  • MLN 8237
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Aurka protein, mouse
  • Aurora Kinase A
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases