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Biochem J. 2005 Feb 15;386(Pt 1):119-25.

PARP inhibition sensitizes p53-deficient breast cancer cells to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis.

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Hospital Universitario San Cecilio, Granada, Spain.


p53 deficiency confers resistance to doxo (doxorubicin), a clinically active and widely used antitumour anthracycline antibiotic. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the reversal mechanism of doxo resistance by the potent PARP [poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase] inhibitor ANI (4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide) in the p53-deficient breast cancer cell lines EVSA-T and MDA-MB-231. The effects of ANI, in comparison with doxo alone, on doxo-induced apoptosis, were investigated in matched pairs of EVSA-T or MDA-MB-231 with or without ANI co-treatment. Doxo elicited PARP activation as determined by Western blotting and immunofluorescence of poly(ADP-ribose), and ANI enhanced the cytotoxic activity of doxo 2.3 times and in a caspase-dependent manner. The long-term cytotoxic effect was studied by a colony-forming assay. Using this assay, ANI also significantly potentiates the long-term cytotoxic effect with respect to treatment with doxo alone. Decrease in mitochondrial potential together with an increase in cytochrome c release, association of Bax with the mitochondria and caspase 3 activation were also observed in the presence of ANI. Therefore PARP inhibition may represent a novel way of selectively targeting p53-deficient breast cancer cells. The underlying mechanism is probably a potentiation of unrepaired DNA damage, shifting from DNA repair to apoptosis due to the effective inhibition of PARP activity.

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