Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) play an important role in various cellular processes, such as replication, recombination, chromatin remodeling, and DNA repair. Emphasizing PARP's role in facilitating DNA repair, the PARP pathway has been a target for cancer researchers in developing compounds which selectively target cancer cells and increase sensitivity of cancer cells to other anticancer agents, but which also leave normal cells unaffected. Since certain tumors (BRCA1/2 mutants) have deficient homologous recombination repair pathways, they depend on PARP-mediated base excision repair for survival. Thus, inhibition of PARP is a promising strategy to selectively kill cancer cells by inactivating complementary DNA repair pathways. Although PARP inhibitor therapy has predominantly targeted BRCA-mutated cancers, this review also highlights the growing conversation around PARP inhibitor treatment for non-BRCA-mutant tumors, those which exhibit BRCAness and homologous recombination deficiency. We provide an update on the field's progress by considering PARP inhibitor mechanisms, predictive biomarkers, and clinical trials of PARP inhibitors in development. Bringing light to these findings would provide a basis for expanding the use of PARP inhibitors beyond BRCA-mutant breast tumors.
Keywords: BRCA; BRCAness; PARP; PARP inhibitors; biomarkers; breast cancer; resistance.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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