Novel treatment strategies in triple-negative breast cancer: specific role of poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibition
M William Audeh
Division of Medical Oncology, Samuel Oschin Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Abstract: Inhibitors of the poly(adenosine triphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP)-1 enzyme induce synthetic lethality in cancers with ineffective DNA (DNA) repair or homologous repair deficiency, and have shown promising clinical activity in cancers deficient in DNA repair due to germ-line mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2. The majority of breast cancers arising in carriers of BRCA1 germ-line mutations, as well as half of those in BRCA2 carriers, are classified as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). TNBC is a biologically heterogeneous group of breast cancers characterized by the lack of immunohistochemical expression of the ER, PR, or HER2 proteins, and for which the current standard of care in systemic therapy is cytotoxic chemotherapy. Many “sporadic” cases of TNBC appear to have indicators of DNA repair dysfunction similar to those in BRCA-mutation carriers, suggesting the possible utility of PARP inhibitors in a subset of TNBC. Significant genetic heterogeneity has been observed within the TNBC cohort, creating challenges for interpretation of prior clinical trial data, and for the design of future clinical trials. Several PARP inhibitors are currently in clinical development in BRCA-mutated breast cancer. The use of PARP inhibitors in TNBC without BRCA mutation will require biomarkers that identify cancers with homologous repair deficiency in order to select patients likely to respond. Beyond mutations in the BRCA genes, dysfunction in other genes that interact with the homologous repair pathway may offer opportunities to induce synthetic lethality when combined with PARP inhibition.
Keywords: PARP, triple negative breast cancer, PARP inhibitors
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