Myc oncoproteins are causally involved in the genesis of a large fraction of human tumors. Three closely related Myc proteins, c-myc, N-myc and L-myc, have been implicated in cancer, whereas c-myc was identified as an important oncogenic driver in frequent solid tumors.Applying transposon-based mosaic liver cancer mouse models and direct in vivo shRNA screening technology, we found that bypassing a latent p19Arf- and Aurka mediated G2/M cell cycle arrest is required for development of p53 altered liver carcinomas with activated Ras/MAPK signalling. The resulting tumors depend on high MYC levels for survival. A direct interaction of Aurka and MYC was identified in p53 altered liver cancer cells, which could be efficiently disrupted by conformation changing Aurka inhibitors, resulting in MYC degradation and cell death specifically of p53 altered human and murine hepatoma cells. Treatment studies in mouse models of p53 deficient therapy resistant liver cancer revealed marked therapeutic efficacy of conformation changing Aurka inhibitors, thus suggesting a new therapeutic strategy against this major lethal cancer.

Citation Format: Dauch Daniel, Ramona Rudalska, Giacomo Cossa, Jean Charles Nault, Sandrine Imbeaud, Nisar P. Malek, Thomas Longerich, Stefan Laufer, Antti Poso, Jessica Zucman-Rossi, Martin Eilers, Lars Zender. A MYC-Aurka protein complex represents an actionable target in p53 altered liver cancer. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 1257.