A high-throughput RNA interference screen for DNA repair determinants of PARP inhibitor sensitivity

DNA Repair (Amst). 2008 Dec 1;7(12):2010-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2008.08.014. Epub 2008 Oct 15.


Synthetic lethality is an attractive strategy for the design of novel therapies for cancer. Using this approach we have previously demonstrated that inhibition of the DNA repair protein, PARP1, is synthetically lethal with deficiency of either of the breast cancer susceptibility proteins, BRCA1 and BRCA2. This observation is most likely explained by the inability of BRCA deficient cells to repair DNA damage by homologous recombination (HR) and has led to the clinical trials of potent PARP inhibitors for the treatment of BRCA mutation-associated cancer. To identify further determinants of PARP inhibitor response, we took a high-throughput genetic approach. We tested each of the genes recognised as having a role in DNA repair using short-interfering RNA (siRNA) and assessed the sensitivity of siRNA transfected cells to a potent PARP inhibitor, KU0058948. The validity of this approach was confirmed by the identification of known genetic determinants of PARP inhibitor sensitivity, including genes involved in HR. Novel determinants of PARP inhibitor response were also identified, including the transcription coupled DNA repair (TCR) proteins DDB1 and XAB2. These results suggest that DNA repair pathways other than HR may determine sensitivity to PARP inhibitors and highlight the likelihood that ostensibly distinct DNA repair pathways cooperate to maintain genomic stability and cellular viability. Furthermore, the identification of these novel determinants may eventually guide the optimal use of PARP inhibitors in the clinic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / genetics
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / metabolism
  • DNA Repair*
  • Fluorobenzenes / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Phthalazines / pharmacology*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / genetics
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / metabolism
  • Quality Control
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay


  • Fluorobenzenes
  • KU0058948
  • Phthalazines
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases
  • DNA Repair Enzymes