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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 4;105(44):17079-84. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0806092105. Epub 2008 Oct 29.

High sensitivity of BRCA1-deficient mammary tumors to the PARP inhibitor AZD2281 alone and in combination with platinum drugs.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Biology and Centre for Biomedical Genetics, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Whereas target-specific drugs are available for treating ERBB2-overexpressing and hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, no tailored therapy exists for hormone receptor- and ERBB2-negative ("triple-negative") mammary carcinomas. Triple-negative tumors account for 15% of all breast cancers and frequently harbor defects in DNA double-strand break repair through homologous recombination (HR), such as BRCA1 dysfunction. The DNA-repair defects characteristic of BRCA1-deficient cells confer sensitivity to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibition, which could be relevant to treatment of triple-negative tumors. To evaluate PARP1 inhibition in a realistic in vivo setting, we tested the PARP inhibitor AZD2281 in a genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) for BRCA1-associated breast cancer. Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with AZD2281 inhibited tumor growth without signs of toxicity, resulting in strongly increased survival. Long-term treatment with AZD2281 in this model did result in the development of drug resistance, caused by up-regulation of Abcb1a/b genes encoding P-glycoprotein efflux pumps. This resistance to AZD2281 could be reversed by coadministration of the P-glycoprotein inhibitor tariquidar. Combination of AZD2281 with cisplatin or carboplatin increased the recurrence-free and overall survival, suggesting that AZD2281 potentiates the effect of these DNA-damaging agents. Our results demonstrate in vivo efficacy of AZD2281 against BRCA1-deficient breast cancer and illustrate how GEMMs of cancer can be used for preclinical evaluation of novel therapeutics and for testing ways to overcome or circumvent therapy resistance.

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