Efficacy of systemic therapies in men with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer harboring germline ATM versus BRCA2 mutations

Prostate. 2021 Dec;81(16):1382-1389. doi: 10.1002/pros.24236. Epub 2021 Sep 13.


Background: Among men with metastatic prostate cancer, about 10% have germline alterations in DNA damage response genes. Most studies have examined BRCA2 alone or an aggregate of BRCA1/2 and ATM. Emerging data suggest that ATM mutations may have distinct biology and warrant individual evaluation. The objective of this study is to determine whether response to prostate cancer systemic therapies differs between men with germline mutations in ATM (gATM) and BRCA2 (gBRCA2).

Methods: This is an international multicenter retrospective matched cohort study of men with prostate cancer harboring gATM or gBRCA2. PSA50 response (≥50% decline in prostate-specific antigen) was compared using Fisher's exact test.

Results and limitations: The study included 45 gATM and 45 gBRCA2 patients, matched on stage and year of germline testing. Patients with gATM and gBRCA2 had similar age, Gleason grade, and PSA at diagnosis. We did not observe differences in PSA50 responses to abiraterone, enzalutamide, or docetaxel in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer between the two groups; however, 0/7 with gATM and 12/14 with gBRCA2 achieved PSA50 response to PARPi (p < .001). Median (95% confidence interval) overall survival from diagnosis to death was 10.9 years (9.5-not reached) versus 9.9 years (7.1-not reached, p = .07) for the gATM and gBRCA2 cohorts, respectively. Limitations include the retrospective design and lack of mutation zygosity data.

Conclusions: Conventional therapies can be effective in gATM carriers and should be considered before PARPi, which shows limited efficacy in this group. Men with gATM mutations warrant prioritization for novel treatment strategies.

Keywords: ATM; BRCA2; PARPi; abiraterone; docetaxel; enzalutamide; germline; homologous recombination deficiency; platinum.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Androstenes / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Benzamides / therapeutic use*
  • Docetaxel / therapeutic use*
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Therapy Management / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nitriles / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Selection
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / therapeutic use*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis


  • Androstenes
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human
  • Benzamides
  • Nitriles
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • Docetaxel
  • Phenylthiohydantoin
  • enzalutamide
  • ATM protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • abiraterone