Research Papers:

Precision cancer therapy: profiting from tumor specific defects in the DNA damage tolerance system

Olimpia Alessandra Buoninfante, Bas Pilzecker, Muhammad Assad Aslam, Ioannis Zavrakidis, Rianne van der Wiel, Marieke van de Ven, Paul C.M. van den Berk and Heinz Jacobs _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:18832-18843. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24777

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Olimpia Alessandra Buoninfante1,*, Bas Pilzecker1,*, Muhammad Assad Aslam1, Ioannis Zavrakidis2, Rianne van der Wiel1, Marieke van de Ven3, Paul C.M. van den Berk1 and Heinz Jacobs1

1Division of Tumor Biology and Immunology, Amsterdam, CX 1066, The Netherlands

2Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology, Amsterdam, CX 1066, The Netherlands

3Mouse Clinic for Cancer and Aging research (MCCA) Transgenic Facility, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, CX 1066, The Netherlands

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Heinz Jacobs, email: [email protected]

Keywords: DNA damage tolerance; precision cancer medicine; cancer target; chemotherapy; cisplatin

Received: January 10, 2018     Accepted: February 27, 2018     Published: April 10, 2018


DNA damage tolerance (DDT) enables replication to continue in the presence of a damaged template and constitutes a key step in DNA interstrand crosslink repair. In this way DDT minimizes replication stress inflicted by a wide range of endogenous and exogenous agents, and provides a critical first line defense against alkylating and platinating chemotherapeutics. Effective DDT strongly depends on damage-induced, site-specific PCNA-ubiquitination at Lysine (K) 164 by the E2/E3 complex (RAD6/18). A survey of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) revealed a high frequency of tumors presents RAD6/RAD18 bi-allelic inactivating deletions. For instance, 11% of renal cell carcinoma and 5% of pancreatic tumors have inactivating RAD18-deletions and 7% of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors lack RAD6B. To determine the potential benefit for tumor-specific DDT defects, we followed a genetic approach by establishing unique sets of DDT-proficient PcnaK164 and -defective PcnaK164R lymphoma and breast cancer cell lines. In the absence of exogenous DNA damage, PcnaK164R tumors grew comparably to their PcnaK164 controls in vitro and in vivo. However, DDT-defective lymphomas and breast cancers were compared to their DDT-proficient controls hypersensitive to the chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin (CsPt), both in vitro and in vivo. CsPt strongly inhibited tumor growth and the overall survival of tumor bearing mice greatly improved in the DDT-defective condition. These insights open new therapeutic possibilities for precision cancer medicine with DNA damaging chemotherapeutics and optimize Next-Generation-Sequencing (NGS)-based cancer-diagnostics, -therapeutics, and -prognosis.

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