A new way of targeting the PARP1 gene in order to induce cell death in breast cancer cells is reported online in Cell Death and Differentiation. The study provides alternative possibilities for breast cancer treatment following safety concerns raised by previous studies involving Parp1-deficient mice.
The BRCA1 gene mutation causes approximately half the cases of familial breast cancer. Loss of the PARP1 gene in BRCA1-mutated cells leads to apoptosis, the programmed death of a cell. PARP1 inhibitors have therefore been proposed as a promising treatment for breast cancer. However, an earlier investigation revealed that the deletion of this gene in mice actually induces breast cancer, causing worries over the safety of this type of treatment.
Chu-Xia Deng and colleagues now reveal that the haploid loss of this gene - the loss of just one of the two gene copies - is sufficient to induce apoptosis in BRCA1-mutated cells in mice. This discovery means that drugs that lead to only the partial inhibition of PARP1 could serve as an effective and safer treatment of BRCA1-associated breast cancer.
Chu-Xia Deng (National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA)
Rachel Gonzaga (Cell Death and Differentiation, London)
Abstract available online.
(C) Cell Death and Differentiation press release.
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