ARTICLE ABSTRACTEmergence 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.
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.
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.
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.