Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), a malignant neoplasm with high incidence, is a severe global public health threat. The current modalities used for treating ESCC include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Although ESCC management and treatment strategies have improved over the last decade, the overall 5-year survival rate remains <20%. Therefore, the identification of novel therapeutic strategies that can increase ESCC patient survival rates is urgently needed. Oxethazaine, an amino-amide anesthetic agent, is mainly prescribed in combination with antacids to relieve esophagitis, dyspepsia, and other gastric disorders. In the present study, we found that oxethazaine inhibited the proliferation and migration of esophageal cancer cells. According to the results of in vitro screening and binding assays, oxethazaine binds directly to AURKA, suppresses AURKA activity, and inhibits the downstream effectors of AURKA. Notably, we found that oxethazaine suppressed tumor growth in three patient-derived esophageal xenograft mouse models and tumor metastasis in vivo. Our findings suggest that oxethazaine can inhibit ESCC proliferation and metastasis in vitro and in vivo by targeting AURKA.
© 2022. The Author(s).