Low ATM protein expression and depletion of p53 correlates with olaparib sensitivity in gastric cancer cell lines

Cell Cycle. 2014;13(13):2129-37. doi: 10.4161/cc.29212. Epub 2014 May 19.


Small-molecule inhibitors of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) have shown considerable promise in the treatment of homologous recombination (HR)-defective tumors, such as BRCA1- and BRCA2-deficient breast and ovarian cancers. We previously reported that mantle cell lymphoma cells with deficiency in ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) are sensitive to PARP-1 inhibitors in vitro and in vivo. Here, we report that PARP inhibitors can potentially target ATM deficiency arising in a solid malignancy. We show that ATM protein expression varies between gastric cancer cell lines, with NUGC4 having significantly reduced protein levels. Significant correlation was found between ATM protein expression and sensitivity to the PARP inhibitor olaparib, with NUGC4 being the most sensitive. Moreover, reducing ATM kinase activity using a small-molecule inhibitor (KU55933) or shRNA-mediated depletion of ATM protein enhanced olaparib sensitivity in gastric cancer cell lines with depletion or inactivation of p53. Our results demonstrate that ATM is a potential predictive biomarker for PARP-1 inhibitor activity in gastric cancer harboring disruption of p53, and that combined inhibition of ATM and PARP-1 is a rational strategy for expanding the utility of PARP-1 inhibitors to gastric cancer with p53 disruption.

Keywords: ATM; PARP-1 inhibitor; gastric cancer; olaparib; p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / genetics*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Phthalazines / pharmacology*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors*
  • Pyrones / pharmacology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • 2-morpholin-4-yl-6-thianthren-1-yl-pyran-4-one
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Morpholines
  • Phthalazines
  • Piperazines
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • Pyrones
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • olaparib