Preclinical evaluation of AMG 900, a novel potent and highly selective pan-aurora kinase inhibitor with activity in taxane-resistant tumor cell lines.
In mammalian cells, the aurora kinases (aurora-A, -B, and -C) play essential roles in regulating cell division. The expression of aurora-A and -B is elevated in a variety of human cancers and is associated with high proliferation rates and poor prognosis, making them attractive targets for anticancer therapy. AMG 900 is an orally bioavailable, potent, and highly selective pan-aurora kinase inhibitor that is active in taxane-resistant tumor cell lines. In tumor cells, AMG 900 inhibited autophosphorylation of aurora-A and -B as well as phosphorylation of histone H3 on Ser(10), a proximal substrate of aurora-B. The predominant cellular response of tumor cells to AMG 900 treatment was aborted cell division without a prolonged mitotic arrest, which ultimately resulted in cell death. AMG 900 inhibited the proliferation of 26 tumor cell lines, including cell lines resistant to the antimitotic drug paclitaxel and to other aurora kinase inhibitors (AZD1152, MK-0457, and PHA-739358), at low nanomolar concentrations. Furthermore, AMG 900 was active in an AZD1152-resistant HCT116 variant cell line that harbors an aurora-B mutation (W221L). Oral administration of AMG 900 blocked the phosphorylation of histone H3 in a dose-dependent manner and significantly inhibited the growth of HCT116 tumor xenografts. Importantly, AMG 900 was broadly active in multiple xenograft models, including 3 multidrug-resistant xenograft models, representing 5 tumor types. AMG 900 has entered clinical evaluation in adult patients with advanced cancers and has the potential to treat tumors refractory to anticancer drugs such as the taxanes.