PARP-1 Expression and BRCA1 Mutations in Breast Cancer Patients' CTCs

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 29;14(7):1731. doi: 10.3390/cancers14071731.


BRCA1 and PARP are involved in DNA damage repair pathways. BRCA1 mutations have been linked to higher likelihood of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). The aim of the study was to determine PARP-1 expression and BRCA1 mutations in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) of BC patients. Fifty patients were enrolled: 23 luminal and 27 TNBC. PARP expression in CTCs was identified by immunofluorescence. Genotyping was performed by PCR-Sanger sequencing in the same samples. PARP-1 expression was higher in luminal (61%) and early BC (54%), compared to TNBC (41%) and metastatic (33%) patients. In addition, PARP-1 distribution was mostly cytoplasmic in luminal patients (p = 0.024), whereas it was mostly nuclear in TNBC patients. In cytokeratin (CK)-positive patients, those with the CK+PARP+ phenotype had longer overall survival (OS, log-rank p = 0.046). Overall, nine mutations were detected; M1 and M2 were completely new and M4, M7 and M8 were characterized as pathogenic. M7 and M8 were predominantly found in metastatic TNBC patients (p = 0.014 and p = 0.002). Thus, PARP-1 expression and increased mutagenic burden in TNBC patients' CTCs, could be used as an indicator to stratify patients regarding therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: BRCA1; PARP-1; breast cancer; circulating tumor cells; luminal; triple negative breast cancer.