Targeting the DNA repair defect of BRCA tumours

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2005 Aug;5(4):388-93. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2005.03.006.


Carriers of heterozygous mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 are strongly predisposed to breast and ovarian cancers. Cancers arising in these individuals have consistently lost the wild-type allele during tumour progression, and are therefore deficient in BRCA1 or BRCA2 function. Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 proteins have been implicated in the repair of double-strand DNA breaks by homologous recombination. This functional role in DNA repair could be exploited in the treatment of BRCA-deficient cancers by targeting the tumours with drugs that create DNA damage highly reliant on BRCA1 or BRCA2 for repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA1 Protein / physiology
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / physiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • DNA Repair / drug effects*
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Recombination, Genetic / drug effects


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein