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21 Inhibiting PARP-1 to restore temozolomide sensitivity and prevent resistance in glioblastoma

  • E. A. Bering, A. L. Yuan, J. G. Cairncross and M. D. Blough

Abstract

Adult Glioblastomas (GBMs) remain one of the least curable brain cancers despite the discovery and use of DNA alkylating agent Temozolomide (TMZ). TMZ provides a moderate survival benefit to sensitive patients whose O6-methylguanine-methyltransferase (MGMT) gene is silenced by promoter methylation. Unfortunately, TMZ potential is stunted because of the rapid onset of tumour recurrence and acquired resistance believed to result from the upregulation of DNA damage repair by the base excision repair (BER), mismatch repair (MMR), or homologous recombination (HR) systems. Our laboratory previously demonstrated that cell lines obtained from recurrent, TMZ-resistant GBMs could be re-sensitized to TMZ when treated with an inhibitor of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) – a protein instrumental in the recruitment of BER machinery. From this preliminary research, we postulate that PARP-1 inhibition may not only be used to overcome established resistance in GBM but may also be used to prevent its emergence altogether. To test this hypothesis, we utilized the MGMT-methylated GBM cell line U251N and developed an in vitro model of inducible TMZ resistance. We verified that prolonged treatment of U251N cells with TMZ resulted in the emergence of resistant colonies that resembled recurrent GBM clinically observed in TMZ-treated patients. However, when the parental U251N line was co-treated with TMZ and PARP-1 inhibitor ABT-888, resistant colonies failed to appear. Therefore, PARP-1 inhibition may possess the potential to maintain tumour sensitivity to TMZ as well as evade the otherwise inevitable development of resistance in GBM.

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