Simultaneous inhibition of Src and Aurora kinases by SU6656 induces therapeutic synergy in human synovial sarcoma growth, invasion and angiogenesis in vivo

Eur J Cancer. 2012 Oct;48(15):2417-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.12.028. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Synovial sarcoma is an obstinate, high-grade malignancy because of its modest responses to radiotherapy and chemotherapy; the identification of effective therapeutics for this sarcoma is therefore necessary. Inhibition of Src family kinases (SFKs) suppresses the proliferation of synovial sarcoma cells in vitro, as we have previously reported. In this study, to validate the efficacy of Src inhibition in vivo, we employed SU6656, which was originally identified as a specific SFK inhibitor. SU6656 treatment significantly impaired the growth of established, existing tumours formed by synovial sarcoma cells in mice. Tumour cell invasion into the surrounding tissues was also abolished by SU6656. It is noteworthy that SU6656 but not PP2 induced a defect in cleavage furrow formation during cytokinesis, resulting in G2/M accumulation and subsequent apoptosis. Intriguingly, SU6656 abrogated the catalytic activities of Aurora kinases and led to the down-regulation of phosphorylated histone H3 coincidently with p53 accumulation, as did the Aurora kinase inhibitor VX-680. Structural comparison indicated an extensive similarity between the catalytic domains of SFKs and Aurora kinases. The structural analysis also revealed the potential binding mode of SU6656 to the ATP-binding cleft of Aurora B via four hydrogen bonds. SU6656 prevented angiogenesis within the tumours by attenuating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production by tumour cells and the subsequent chemotaxis of endothelial cells; these effects were the result of the inhibition of SFKs but not Aurora kinases. Based on these results, we hereby report a novel property of SU6656 as a dual inhibitor of SFKs and Aurora kinases, the suppression of both of which effectively abrogates tumour development and the progression of synovial sarcoma in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / enzymology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / blood supply
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / enzymology
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / pathology
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
  • src-Family Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism


  • Indoles
  • SU 6656
  • Sulfonamides
  • src-Family Kinases
  • AURKB protein, human
  • Aurkb protein, mouse
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases