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Danusertib, a potent pan-Aurora kinase and ABL kinase inhibitor, induces cell cycle arrest and programmed cell death and inhibits epithelial to mesenchymal transition involving the PI3K/Akt/mTOR-mediated signaling pathway in human gastric cancer AGS and NCI-N78 cells

Authors Yuan C, Zhou Z, Yang Y, He Z, Zhang X, Wang D, Yang T, Pan S, Chen X, Zhou S

Received 26 September 2014

Accepted for publication 22 October 2014

Published 2 March 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1293—1318


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Chun-Xiu Yuan,1,2 Zhi-Wei Zhou,2,3 Yin-Xue Yang,4 Zhi-Xu He,3 Xueji Zhang,5 Dong Wang,6 Tianxing Yang,7 Si-Yuan Pan,8 Xiao-Wu Chen,9 Shu-Feng Zhou2

1Department of Oncology, General Hospital, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pharmaceutical Science, College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA; 3Guizhou Provincial Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Research Center and Sino-US Joint Laboratory for Medical Sciences, Guiyang Medical University, Guiyang, 4Department of Colorectal Surgery, General Hospital, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, 5Research Center for Bioengineering and Sensing Technology, University of Science and Technology Beijing, 6Cancer Center, Daping Hospital and Research Institute of Surgery, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 7Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah and Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; 8Department of Pharmacology, School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, 9Department of General Surgery, The First People’s Hospital of Shunde, Southern Medical University, Shunde, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, with a poor response to current chemotherapy. Danusertib is a pan-inhibitor of the Aurora kinases and a third-generation Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor with potent anticancer effects, but its antitumor effect and underlying mechanisms in the treatment of human gastric cancer are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the effects of danusertib on cell growth, apoptosis, autophagy, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition and the molecular mechanisms involved in human gastric cancer AGS and NCI-N78 cells. The results showed that danusertib had potent growth-inhibitory, apoptosis-inducing, and autophagy-inducing effects on AGS and NCI-N78 cells. Danusertib arrested AGS and NCI-N78 cells in G2/M phase, with downregulation of expression of cyclin B1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 1 and upregulation of expression of p21 Waf1/Cip1, p27 Kip1, and p53. Danusertib induced mitochondria-mediated apoptosis, with an increase in expression of proapoptotic protein and a decrease in antiapoptotic proteins in both cell lines. Danusertib induced release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytosol and triggered activation of caspase 9 and caspase 3 in AGS and NCI-N78 cells. Further, danusertib induced autophagy, with an increase in expression of beclin 1 and conversion of microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3-I) to LC3-II in both cell lines. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways as well as activation of 5' AMP-activated protein kinase contributed to the proautophagic effect of danusertib in AGS and NCI-N78 cells. SB202191 and wortmannin enhanced the autophagy-inducing effect of danusertib in AGS and NCI-N78 cells. In addition, danusertib inhibited epithelial to mesenchymal transition with an increase in expression of E-cadherin and a decrease in expression of N-cadherin in both cell lines. Taken together, danusertib has potent inducing effects on cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and autophagy, but has an inhibitory effect on epithelial to mesenchymal transition, with involvement of signaling pathways mediated by PI3K/Akt/mTOR, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and 5' AMP-activated protein kinase in AGS and NCI-N78 cells.

Keywords: danusertib, gastric cancer, Aurora kinase, apoptosis, autophagy, epithelial to mesenchymal transition

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