Restoration of temozolomide sensitivity by PARP inhibitors in mismatch repair deficient glioblastoma is independent of base excision repair

Fumi Higuchi, Hiroaki Nagashima, Jianfang Ning, Mara V.A. Koerner, Hiroaki Wakimoto, Daniel P. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Emergence of mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency is a frequent mechanism of acquired resistance to the alkylating chemotherapeutic temozolomide (TMZ) in gliomas. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) have been shown to potentiate TMZ cytotoxicity in several cancer types, including gliomas. We tested whether PARP inhibition could re-sensitize MSH6-null MMR-deficient gliomas to TMZ, and assessed the role of the base excision repair (BER) DNA damage repair pathway in PARPi-mediated effects. Experimental Design: Isogenic pairs of MSH6 wild-type and MSH6-inactivated human glioblastoma (GBM) cells (including both IDH1/2 wild-type and IDH1 mutant), as well as MSH6-null cells derived from a patient with recurrent GBM were treated with TMZ, the PARPi veliparib or olaparib, and combination thereof. Efficacy of PARPi combined with TMZ was assessed in vivo. We used genetic and pharmacological approaches to dissect the contribution of BER. Results: While having no detectable effect in MSH6 wild-type GBMs, PARPi selectively restored TMZ sensitivity in MSH6-deficient GBM cells. This genotype-specific restoration of activity translated in vivo, where combination treatment of veliparib and TMZ showed potent suppression of tumor growth of MSH6-inactivated orthotopic xenografts, compared with TMZ monotherapy. Unlike PARPi, genetic and pharmacological blockage of BER pathway did not re-sensitize MSH6-inactivated GBM cells to TMZ. Similarly, CRISPR PARP1 knockout did not re-sensitize MSH6-inactivated GBM cells to TMZ. Conclusions: PARPi restoration of TMZ chemosensitivity in MSH6-inactivated glioma represents a promising strategy to overcome acquired chemoresistance caused by MMR deficiency. Mechanistically, this PARPi-mediated synthetic phenotype was independent of BER blockage and was not recapitulated by loss of PARP1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1690-1699
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award (to D.P. Cahill), NIH R01CA227821 (to D.P. Cahill and H. Wakimoto), P50CA165962 (to D.P. Cahill), Tawingo fund (to D.P. Cahill), Loglio fund (to D.P. Cahill), OligoNation fund (to D.P. Cahill). The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked advertisement in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Association for Cancer Research.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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