Inhibition of Aurora-B kinase activity confers antitumor efficacy in preclinical mouse models of early and advanced gastrointestinal neoplasia.
Alferez DG., Goodlad RA., Odedra R., Sini P., Crafter C., Ryan AJ., Wedge SR., Wright NA., Anderson E., Wilkinson RW.
The Aurora family of kinases, play a fundamental role in cell division and are overexpressed in several cancers including colon. The activity of barasertib-hQPA, a selective inhibitor of Aurora-B kinase (ABK) was investigated in a range of preclinical models of gastrointestinal cancer. Treatment with barasertib-hQPA produced anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects across a panel of human colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines in vitro. Prodrug, barasertib [48-h subcutaneous (s.c.) infusion; 150 mg/kg/day] inhibited the growth of SW620, Colo205, HCT116 human colorectal tumor xenografts in nude mice significantly (Student's t-test, P<0.05, n=10-12 per group). Flow cytometric analysis of single cells from disaggregated barasertib-treated SW620 tumors revealed a decrease in phosphorylated histone H3 (phH3) and an increase in tumor cells with ≥4N DNA content P<0.05). The activity of barasertib was then examined in ApcMin/+ mice, a spontaneous model of early intestinal neoplasia. Macroscopic evaluation of the small intestine revealed that barasertib treatment [25 mg/kg intra-peritoneal (i.p.) Q1Dx4 each week for 3 weeks] of 8-week old ApcMin/+ mice produced a 39% reduction in macroadenoma number (P=0.02) and a 43% reduction in overall adenoma burden (P=0.02) compared with vehicle-treated controls. Quantification of microscopic adenomas revealed a >64% reduction in the number of adenomas spanning more than one villus. Histological analysis of these adenomas revealed a number of distinct changes in barasertib-treated ApcMin/+ mice, including a 94% reduction in the proportion of phospho-histone H3-positive cells (P<0.001) and a 53% reduction in the number of cells per adenoma (P=0.001). These results provide a scientific rationale for investigating ABK inhibitors as a treatment for intestinal cancer.