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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Jul 15;80(4):1189-97. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.01.060. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

MLN8054, a small molecule inhibitor of aurora kinase a, sensitizes androgen-resistant prostate cancer to radiation.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-5671, USA.



To determine whether MLN8054, an Aurora kinase A (Aurora-A) inhibitor causes radiosensitization in androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.


In vitro studies consisted of culturing PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cells and then immunoblotting Aurora A and phospho-Aurora A after radiation and/or nocodazole with MLN8054. Phases of the cell cycle were measured with flow cytometry. PC3 and DU145 cell lines were measured for survival after treatment with MLN8054 and radiation. Immunofluorescence measured γ-H2AX in the PC3 and DU145 cells after treatment. In vivo studies looked at growth delay of PC3 tumor cells in athymic nude mice. PC3 cells grew for 6 to 8 days in mice treated with radiation, MLN8054, or combined for 7 more days. Tumors were resected and fixed on paraffin and stained for von Willebrand factor, Ki67, and caspase-3.


In vitro inhibition of Aurora-A by MLN8054 sensitized prostate cancer cells, as determined by dose enhancement ratios in clonogenic assays. These effects were associated with sustained DNA double-strand breaks, as evidenced by increased immunofluorescence for γ-H2AX and significant G2/M accumulation and polyploidy. In vivo, the addition of MLN8054 (30 mg/kg/day) to radiation in mouse prostate cancer xenografts (PC3 cells) significantly increased tumor growth delay and apoptosis (caspase-3 staining), with reduction in cell proliferation (Ki67 staining) and vascular density (von Willebrand factor staining).


MLN8054, a novel small molecule Aurora-A inhibitor showed radiation sensitization in androgen-insensitive prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. This warrants the clinical development of MLN8054 with radiation for prostate cancer patients.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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