Characterization of novel MPS1 inhibitors with preclinical anticancer activity

Cell Death Differ. 2013 Nov;20(11):1532-45. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2013.105. Epub 2013 Aug 9.


Monopolar spindle 1 (MPS1), a mitotic kinase that is overexpressed in several human cancers, contributes to the alignment of chromosomes to the metaphase plate as well as to the execution of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). Here, we report the identification and functional characterization of three novel inhibitors of MPS1 of two independent structural classes, N-(4-{2-[(2-cyanophenyl)amino][1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-a]pyridin-6-yl}phenyl)-2-phenylacetamide (Mps-BAY1) (a triazolopyridine), N-cyclopropyl-4-{8-[(2-methylpropyl)amino]-6-(quinolin-5-yl)imidazo[1,2-a]pyrazin-3-yl}benzamide (Mps-BAY2a) and N-cyclopropyl-4-{8-(isobutylamino)imidazo[1,2-a]pyrazin-3-yl}benzamide (Mps-BAY2b) (two imidazopyrazines). By selectively inactivating MPS1, these small inhibitors can arrest the proliferation of cancer cells, causing their polyploidization and/or their demise. Cancer cells treated with Mps-BAY1 or Mps-BAY2a manifested multiple signs of mitotic perturbation including inefficient chromosomal congression during metaphase, unscheduled SAC inactivation and severe anaphase defects. Videomicroscopic cell fate profiling of histone 2B-green fluorescent protein-expressing cells revealed the capacity of MPS1 inhibitors to subvert the correct timing of mitosis as they induce a premature anaphase entry in the context of misaligned metaphase plates. Hence, in the presence of MPS1 inhibitors, cells either divided in a bipolar (but often asymmetric) manner or entered one or more rounds of abortive mitoses, generating gross aneuploidy and polyploidy, respectively. In both cases, cells ultimately succumbed to the mitotic catastrophe-induced activation of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Of note, low doses of MPS1 inhibitors and paclitaxel (a microtubular poison) synergized at increasing the frequency of chromosome misalignments and missegregations in the context of SAC inactivation. This resulted in massive polyploidization followed by the activation of mitotic catastrophe. A synergistic interaction between paclitaxel and MPS1 inhibitors could also be demonstrated in vivo, as the combination of these agents efficiently reduced the growth of tumor xenografts and exerted superior antineoplastic effects compared with either compound employed alone. Altogether, these results suggest that MPS1 inhibitors may exert robust anticancer activity, either as standalone therapeutic interventions or combined with microtubule-targeting chemicals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Transfection
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • TTK protein, human
  • Paclitaxel