The potent novel poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, NU1025, enhances the cytotoxicity of DNA-methylating agents and ionizing radiation by inhibiting DNA repair. We report here an investigation of the role of PARP in the cellular responses to inhibitors of topoisomerase I and II using NU1025. The cytotoxicity of the topoisomerase I inhibitor, camptothecin, was increased 2.6-fold in L1210 cells by co-incubation with NU1025. Camptothecin-induced DNA strand breaks were also increased 2.5-fold by NU1025 and exposure to camptothecin-activated PARP. In contrast, NU1025 did not increase the DNA strand breakage or cytotoxicity caused by the topoisomerase II inhibitor etoposide. Exposure to etoposide did not activate PARP even at concentrations that caused significant levels of apoptosis. Taken together, these data suggest that potentiation of camptothecin cytotoxicity by NU1025 is a direct result of increased DNA strand breakage, and that activation of PARP by camptothecin-induced DNA damage contributes to its repair and consequently cell survival. However, in L1210 cells at least, it would appear that PARP is not involved in the cellular response to etoposide-mediated DNA damage. On the basis of these data, PARP inhibitors may be potentially useful in combination with topoisomerase I inhibitor anticancer chemotherapy.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.