Synergistic lethality between PARP-trapping and alantolactone-induced oxidative DNA damage in homologous recombination-proficient cancer cells

PARP1 and PARP2 play critical roles in regulating DNA repair and PARP inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of BRCA1/2-mutated ovarian and breast cancers. It has long been known that PARP inhibition sensitizes cancer cells to DNA-damaging cytotoxic agents independent of BRCA status, however, clinical use of PARP inhibitors in combination with DNA-damaging chemotherapy is limited by the more-than-additive cytotoxicity. The natural compound alantolactone (ATL) inhibits the thioredoxin reductase to induce ROS accumulation and oxidative DNA damage selectively in cancer cells. Here, we showed that nontoxic doses of ATL markedly synergized with the PARP inhibitor olaparib to result in synthetic lethality irrespective of homologous recombination status. Synergistic cytotoxicity was seen in cancer but not noncancerous cells and was reduced by the ROS inhibitor NAC or knockdown of OGG1, demonstrating that the cytotoxicity resulted from the repair of ATL-induced oxidative DNA damage. PARP1 knockdown suppressed the synergistic lethality and olaparib was much more toxic than veliparib when combined with ATL, suggesting PARP-trapping as the primary inducer of cytotoxicity. Consistently, combined use of ATL and olaparib caused intense signs of replication stress and formation of double strand DNA breaks, leading to S and G2 arrest followed by apoptosis. In vivo, the combination effectively induced regression of tumor xenografts, while either agent alone had no effect. Hence, PARP trapping combined with specific pro-oxidative agents may provide safe and effective ways to broaden the therapeutic potential of PARP inhibitors.

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S1060 Olaparib (AZD2281) Olaparib (AZD2281, KU0059436) is a selective inhibitor of PARP1/2 with IC50 of 5 nM/1 nM in cell-free assays, 300-times less effective against tankyrase-1. Olaparib induces significant autophagy that is associated with mitophagy in cells with BRCA mutations. (844) (18)

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