Identification of a Molecularly-Defined Subset of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Models that Respond to WEE1 or ATR Inhibition, Overcoming PARP Inhibitor Resistance.
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PURPOSE: PARP inhibitors (PARPi) induce synthetic lethality in homologous recombination repair (HRR)-deficient tumors and are used to treat breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Multiple PARPi resistance mechanisms exist, most resulting in restoration of HRR and protection of stalled replication forks. ATR inhibition was highlighted as a unique approach to reverse both aspects of resistance. Recently, however, a PARPi/WEE1 inhibitor (WEE1i) combination demonstrated enhanced antitumor activity associated with the induction of replication stress, suggesting another approach to tackling PARPi resistance. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We analyzed breast and ovarian patient-derived xenoimplant models resistant to PARPi to quantify WEE1i and ATR inhibitor (ATRi) responses as single agents and in combination with PARPi. Biomarker analysis was conducted at the genetic and protein level. Metabolite analysis by mass spectrometry and nucleoside rescue experiments ex vivo were also conducted in patient-derived models. RESULTS: Although WEE1i response was linked to markers of replication stress, including STK11/RB1 and phospho-RPA, ATRi response associated with ATM mutation. When combined with olaparib, WEE1i could be differentiated from the ATRi/olaparib combination, providing distinct therapeutic strategies to overcome PARPi resistance by targeting the replication stress response. Mechanistically, WEE1i sensitivity was associated with shortage of the dNTP pool and a concomitant increase in replication stress. CONCLUSIONS: Targeting the replication stress response is a valid therapeutic option to overcome PARPi resistance including tumors without an underlying HRR deficiency. These preclinical insights are now being tested in several clinical trials where the PARPi is administered with either the WEE1i or the ATRi.
Preclin Paed Cancer Evo
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Clinical Cancer Research, 2022, pp. CCR-22-0568 -
AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH