Aurora kinase A induces papillary thyroid cancer lymph node metastasis by promoting cofilin-1 activity

Aurora-A (Aur-A), a member of the serine/threonine Aurora kinase family, plays an important role in ensuring genetic stability during cell division. Previous studies indicated that Aur-A possesses oncogenic activity and may be a valuable therapeutic target in cancer therapy. However, the role of Aur-A in the most common thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), remains largely unknown. In patients with PTC, cancer cell migration and invasion account for most of the metastasis, recurrence, and cancer-related deaths. Cofilin-1 (CFL-1) is the most important effector of actin polymerization and depolymerization, determining the direction of cell migration. Here, we assessed the correlation between Aur-A and CFL-1 in PTC with lymph node metastasis. Tissue microarray data showed that simultaneous overexpression of Aur-A and CFL-1 correlated with lymph node metastasis in thyroid cancer tissue. Inhibition of Aur-A suppressed thyroid cancer cell migration in vitro and decreased lymph node metastasis in nude mice. Importantly, Aur-A increased the non-phosphorylated, active form of CFL-1 in TPC-1 cells, thus promoting cancer cell migration and thyroid cancer lymph node metastasis. Our findings indicate that the combination of Aur-A and CFL-1 may be useful as a molecular prediction model for lymph node metastasis in thyroid cancer and raise the possibility of targeting Aur-A and CFL-1 for more effective treatment of thyroid cancer.

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