Background: Platinum-based therapy is an effective treatment for a subset of triple-negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer patients. In order to increase response rate and decrease unnecessary use, robust biomarkers that predict response to therapy are needed.
Patients and methods: We performed an integrated genomic approach combining differential analysis of gene expression and DNA copy number in sensitive compared with resistant triple-negative breast cancers in two independent neoadjuvant cisplatin-treated cohorts. Functional relevance of significant hits was investigated in vitro by overexpression, knockdown and targeted inhibitor treatment.
Results: We identified two genes, the Bloom helicase (BLM) and Fanconi anemia complementation group I (FANCI), that have both increased DNA copy number and gene expression in the platinum-sensitive cases. Increased level of expression of these two genes was also associated with platinum but not with taxane response in ovarian cancer. As a functional validation, we found that overexpression of BLM promotes DNA damage and induces sensitivity to cisplatin but has no effect on paclitaxel sensitivity.
Conclusions: A biomarker based on the expression levels of the BLM and FANCI genes is a potential predictor of platinum sensitivity in triple-negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer.