Aurora kinase A in gastrointestinal cancers: time to target

Mol Cancer. 2015 May 20:14:106. doi: 10.1186/s12943-015-0375-4.


Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are a major cause of cancer-related deaths. During the last two decades, several studies have shown amplification and overexpression of Aurora kinase A (AURKA) in several GI malignancies. These studies demonstrated that AURKA not only plays a role in regulating cell cycle and mitosis, but also regulates a number of key oncogenic signaling pathways. Although AURKA inhibitors have moved to phase III clinical trials in lymphomas, there has been slower progress in GI cancers and solid tumors. Ongoing clinical trials testing AURKA inhibitors as a single agent or in combination with conventional chemotherapies are expected to provide important clinical information for targeting AURKA in GI cancers. It is, therefore, imperative to consider investigations of molecular determinants of response and resistance to this class of inhibitors. This will improve evaluation of the efficacy of these drugs and establish biomarker based strategies for enrollment into clinical trials, which hold the future direction for personalized cancer therapy. In this review, we will discuss the available data on AURKA in GI cancers. We will also summarize the major AURKA inhibitors that have been developed and tested in pre-clinical and clinical settings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aurora Kinase A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Aurora Kinase A / metabolism*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Aurora Kinase A