Aurora kinases: novel therapy targets in cancers

Anqun Tang, Keyu Gao, Laili Chu, Rui Zhang, Jing Yang and Junnian Zheng _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:23937-23954. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14893

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Anqun Tang1,*, Keyu Gao1,*, Laili Chu1,*, Rui Zhang1, Jing Yang1 and Junnian Zheng1,2

1 Jiangsu Center for the Collaboration and Innovation of Cancer Biotherapy, Cancer Institute, Jiangsu, China

2 Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Junnian Zheng, email:

Jing Yang, email:

Keywords: Aurora kinases, mitosis, cancer therapy target, Aurora kinases inhibitors, combination therapy

Received: November 01, 2016 Accepted: January 17, 2017 Published: January 29, 2017


Aurora kinases, a family of serine/threonine kinases, consisting of Aurora A (AURKA), Aurora B (AURKB) and Aurora C (AURKC), are essential kinases for cell division via regulating mitosis especially the process of chromosomal segregation. Besides regulating mitosis, Aurora kinases have been implicated in regulating meiosis. The deletion of Aurora kinases could lead to failure of cell division and impair the embryonic development. Overexpression or gene amplification of Aurora kinases has been clarified in a number of cancers. And a growing number of studies have demonstrated that inhibition of Aurora kinases could potentiate the effect of chemotherapies. For the past decades, a series of Aurora kinases inhibitors (AKIs) developed effectively repress the progression and growth of many cancers both in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that Aurora kinases could be a novel therapeutic target. In this review, we’ll first briefly present the structure, localization and physiological functions of Aurora kinases in mitosis, then describe the oncogenic role of Aurora kinases in tumorigenesis, we shall finally discuss the outcomes of AKIs combination with conventional therapy.

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