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 genomewide 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
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