Introduction: Drugs that interfere with the normal progression of mitosis belong to the most successful cytotoxic agents currently used for anticancer treatment. Aurora kinases are serine/threonine kinases that function as key regulators of mitosis and are frequently overexpressed in human cancers. The use of several small molecule aurora kinase inhibitors as potential anticancer therapeutic is being investigated. Danusertib (formerly PHA-739358) is a small ATP competitive molecule that inhibits aurora A, B and C kinases. Interestingly, danusertib also inhibits several receptor tyrosine kinases such as Abl, Ret, FGFR-1 and TrkA. These tyrosine kinases are involved in the pathogenesis of a variety of malignancies and the observed multi-target inhibition may increase the antitumor activity resulting in extending the indication. Danusertib was one of the first aurora kinase inhibitors to enter the clinic and has been studied in Phase I and II trials. Areas covered: This review provides an updated summary of preclinical and clinical experience with danusertib up to July 2011. Expert opinion: Future studies with danusertib should focus on the possibility of combining this agent with other targeted anticancer agents, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. As a single agent, danusertib may show more promise in the treatment of leukemias than in solid tumors.

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Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs: authoritative analysis of R&D trends
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Meulenbeld, H., Mathijssen, R., Verweij, J., de Wit, R., & de Jonge, M. (2012). Danusertib, an aurora kinase inhibitor. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs: authoritative analysis of R&D trends (Vol. 21, pp. 383–393). doi:10.1517/13543784.2012.652303