AJTR Copyright © 2009-All rights reserved. Published by e-Century Publishing Corporation, Madison, WI 53711
Am J Translational Res 2010;2(3):296-308

Original Article
VX680/MK-0457, a potent and selective Aurora kinase inhibitor, targets
both tumor and endothelial cells in clear cell renal cell carcinoma

Yan Li, Zhong-Fa Zhang, Jindong Chen, Dan Huang, Yan Ding, Min-Han Tan, Chao-Nan Qian, James H. Resau,
Hyung Kim, Bin Tean Teh

Laboratory of Cancer Genetics, Laboratory of Analytical, Cellular, and Molecular Microscopy, Laboratory of
Microarray Technology, Van Andel Research Institute, 333 Bostwick Ave N.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503,
USA; Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking
Union Medical College, 1 Xian Nong Tan Street, Beijing, 100050 China; NCCS-VARI Translational Research
Laboratory, Department of Molecular Oncology, National Cancer Center, Singapore, Singapore 169610;
Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore; The State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South
China, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, 651 Dongfeng East Road, Guangzhou 510060, P. R. China;
Division of Urology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 80635 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.

Received May 10, 2010; accepted May , 2010; available online May, 2010

Abstract: Aurora kinases are key regulators of cell mitosis and have been implicated in the process of
tumorigenesis.  In recent years, the Aurora kinases have attracted much interest as promising targets for cancer
treatment.  Here we report on the roles of Aurora A and Aurora B kinases in clear cell renal cell carcinoma
(ccRCC).  Using genome-wide expression array analysis of 174 patient samples of ccRCC, we found that
expression levels of Aurora A and B were significantly elevated in ccRCC compared to normal kidney samples.  
High expression levels of Aurora A and Aurora B were significantly associated with advanced tumor stage and
poor patient survival.  Inhibition of Aurora kinase activity with the drug VX680 (also referred to as MK-0457)
inhibited ccRCC cell growth in vitro and led to ccRCC cell accumulation in the G2/M phase and apoptosis.  
Growth of ccRCC xenograft tumors was also inhibited by VX680 treatment, accompanied by a reduction of tumor
microvessel density.  Analysis of endothelial cell lines demonstrated that VX680 inhibits endothelial cell growth
with effects similar to that seen in ccRCC cells.  Our findings suggest that VX680 inhibits the growth of ccRCC
tumors by targeting the proliferation of both ccRCC tumor cells and tumor-associated endothelial cells.  Aurora
kinases and their downstream cell cycle proteins have an important role in ccRCC and may be potent prognostic
markers and therapy targets for this disease. (AJTR1005001).

Key words: Aurora kinase, Aurora, renal cell carcinoma, VX680, MK-0457

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Address all correspondence to:
Bin Tean Teh, MD, PhD
Laboratory of Cancer Genetics
Van Andel Research Institute
333 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503  
Tel:  616-234-5296; Fax: 616-234-5297
E-mail:
bin.teh@vai.org