Micronuclei Frequency in Tumors Is a Predictive Biomarker for Genetic Instability and Sensitivity to the DNA Repair Inhibitor AsiDNA

Cancer Res. 2017 Aug 15;77(16):4207-4216. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2693. Epub 2017 Jun 6.


Therapeutic strategies targeting DNA repair pathway defects have been widely explored, but often only benefit small numbers of patients. Here we characterized potential predictive biomarkers for treatment with AsiDNA, a novel first-in-class DNA repair inhibitor. We evaluated genetic instability and DNA repair defects by direct and indirect assays in 12 breast cancer cell lines to estimate the spontaneous occurrence of single-strand and double-strand breaks (DSB). For each cell line, we monitored constitutive PARP activation, spontaneous DNA damage by alkaline comet assay, basal micronuclei levels, the number of large-scale chromosomal rearrangements (LST), and the status of several DNA repair pathways by transcriptome and genome analysis. Sensitivity to AsiDNA was associated with a high spontaneous frequency of cells with micronuclei and LST and specific alterations in DNA repair pathways that essentially monitor DSB repair defects. A high basal level of micronuclei as a predictive biomarker for AsiDNA treatment was validated in 43 tumor cell lines from various tissues and 15 models of cell- and patient-derived xenografts. Micronuclei quantification was also possible in patient biopsies. Overall, this study identified genetic instability as a predictive biomarker for sensitivity to AsiDNA treatment. That micronuclei frequency can be measured in biopsies and does not reveal the same genetic instability as conventional genome assays opens new perspectives for refining the classification of tumors with genetic instability. Cancer Res; 77(16); 4207-16. ©2017 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Repair*
  • Female
  • Genomic Instability*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / genetics
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / pharmacology*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides