MLN-8237: A dual inhibitor of aurora A and B in soft tissue sarcomas

Oncotarget. 2016 Mar 15;7(11):12893-903. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.7335.


Aurora kinases have become an attractive target in cancer therapy due to their deregulated expression in human tumors. Liposarcoma, a type of soft tissue sarcoma in adults, account for approximately 20% of all adult soft tissue sarcomas. There are no effective chemotherapies for majority of these tumors. Efforts made to define the molecular basis of liposarcomas lead to the finding that besides the amplifications of CDK4 and MDM2, Aurora Kinase A, also was shown to be overexpressed. Based on these as well as mathematic modeling, we have carried out a successful preclinical study using CDK4 and IGF1R inhibitors in liposarcoma. MLN8237 has been shown to be a potent and selective inhibitor of Aurora A. MLN-8237, as per our results, induces a differential inhibition of Aurora A and B in a dose dependent manner. At a low nanomolar dose, cellular effects such as induction of phospho-Histone H3 (Ser10) mimicked as that of the inhibition of Aurora kinase A followed by apoptosis. However, micromolar dose of MLN-8237 induced polyploidy, a hallmark effect of Aurora B inhibition. The dose dependent selectivity of inhibition was further confirmed by using siRNA specific inhibition of Aurora A and B. This was further tested by time lapse microscopy of GFP-H2B labelled cells treated with MLN-8237. LS141 xenograft model at a dose of 30 mg/kg also showed efficient growth suppression by selective inhibition of Aurora Kinase A. Based on our data, a dose that can target only Aurora A will be more beneficial in tumor suppression.

Keywords: Aurora A; Aurora B; apoptosis; polyploidy; sarcoma.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aurora Kinase A / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Aurora Kinase B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Azepines / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Liposarcoma / enzymology*
  • Liposarcoma / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Azepines
  • MLN 8237
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • AURKA protein, human
  • AURKB protein, human
  • Aurora Kinase A
  • Aurora Kinase B