Research Papers:

Both BRCA1-wild type and -mutant triple-negative breast cancers show sensitivity to the NAE inhibitor MLN4924 which is enhanced upon MLN4924 and cisplatin combination treatment

Shrilekha Misra, Xiaoli Zhang, Nissar Ahmad Wani, Steven Sizemore and Alo Ray _

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Oncotarget. 2020; 11:784-800. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27485

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Shrilekha Misra1,3, Xiaoli Zhang4, Nissar Ahmad Wani1,3, Steven Sizemore2,3 and Alo Ray1,3

1 Department of Pathology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

3 Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

4 Department of Biomedical Informatics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Correspondence to:

Alo Ray,email: [email protected]

Keywords: triple-negative breast cancer; MLN4924; cisplatin; cell cycle; DNA damage

Received: October 15, 2019     Accepted: January 21, 2020     Published: February 25, 2020


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) shows limited therapeutic efficacy. PARP inhibitor has been approved to treat advanced BRCA-mutant breast cancer but shows high resistance. Therefore, the development of new therapeutics that sensitize TNBC irrespective of BRCA status is urgently needed. The neddylation pathway plays a critical role in many physiological processes by regulating the degradation of proteins. MLN4924, a selective inhibitor of the key neddylation enzyme NEDD8 Activation Enzyme (NAE1), shows higher sensitivity to both BRCA1-wild type and -mutant TNBCs compared to other breast cancer subtypes. MLN4924 induced re-replication with >4N DNA content leading to robust DNA damage. Accumulation of unrepaired DNA damage resulted in S and G2/M arrest causing apoptosis and senescence, due to the stabilization of the replication initiation protein CDT1 and the accumulation of cell cycle proteins upon MLN4924 treatment. Moreover, adding MLN4924 to the standard TNBC chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin increased the DNA damage level, further enhancing the sensitivity. In vivo, MLN4924 reduced tumor growth in a NOD-SCID mouse xenograft model by inducing DNA damage which was further augmented with the MLN4924 and cisplatin cotreatment. NAE1 is overexpressed in TNBC cell lines and in patients compared to other breast cancer subtypes suggesting that NAE1 status is prognostic of MLN4924 treatment response and outcome. Taken together, we demonstrated the mechanism of TNBC sensitization by the MLN4924 and MLN4924/cisplatin treatments irrespective of BRCA1 status, provided a strong justification for using MLN4924 alone or in combination with cisplatin, and identified a genetic background in which this combination will be particularly effective.

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