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Keywords:

  • aurora kinase;
  • DNA damage;
  • melanoma;
  • NF-κB;
  • senescence

Abstract

Oncogene-induced senescence can provide a protective mechanism against tumour progression. However, production of cytokines and growth factors by senescent cells may contribute to tumour development. Thus, it is unclear whether induction of senescence represents a viable therapeutic approach. Here, using a mouse model with orthotopic implantation of metastatic melanoma tumours taken from 19 patients, we observed that targeting aurora kinases with MLN8054/MLN8237 impaired mitosis, induced senescence and markedly blocked proliferation in patient tumour implants. Importantly, when a subset of tumour-bearing mice were monitored for tumour progression after pausing MLN8054 treatment, 50% of the tumours did not progress over a 12-month period. Mechanistic analyses revealed that inhibition of aurora kinases induced polyploidy and the ATM/Chk2 DNA damage response, which mediated senescence and a NF-κB-related, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Blockade of IKKβ/NF-κB led to reversal of MLN8237-induced senescence and SASP. Results demonstrate that removal of senescent tumour cells by infiltrating myeloid cells is crucial for inhibition of tumour re-growth. Altogether, these data demonstrate that induction of senescence, coupled with immune surveillance, can limit melanoma growth.