Metaplastic breast carcinoma (MBC) is a rare histological breast cancer subtype characterized by mesenchymal elements and poor clinical outcome. A large fraction of MBCs harbor defects in breast cancer 1 (BRCA1). As BRCA1 deficiency sensitizes tumors to DNA cross-linking agents and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, we sought to investigate the response of BRCA1-deficient MBCs to the PARP inhibitor olaparib. To this end, we established a genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM) for BRCA1-deficient MBC by introducing the MET proto-oncogene into a BRCA1-associated breast cancer model, using our novel female GEMM ES cell (ESC) pipeline. In contrast to carcinomas, BRCA1-deficient mouse carcinosarcomas resembling MBC show intrinsic resistance to olaparib caused by increased P-glycoprotein (Pgp) drug efflux transporter expression. Indeed, resistance could be circumvented by using another PARP inhibitor, AZD2461, which is a poor Pgp substrate. These preclinical findings suggest that patients with BRCA1-associated MBC may show poor response to olaparib and illustrate the value of GEMM-ESC models of human cancer for evaluation of novel therapeutics.
Keywords: BRCA1; PARP; breast cancer; mouse model; resistance.