Department of Medical Oncology, Jinling Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing 210002, China.
* These authors contributed equally to this study.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) lacks estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) expression and thus cannot benefit from conventional hormonal or anti-HER2 targeted therapies. Anti-androgen therapy has shown a certain effect on androgen receptor (AR) positive TNBC. The emerging researches have proved that poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor is effective in BRCA1-deficient breast cancers. We demonstrated that combination of AR antagonist (bicalutamide) and PARP inhibitor (ABT-888) could inhibit cell viability and induce cell apoptosis significantly whatever in vitro or in vivo setting in AR-positive TNBC. Previous studies have proved that both BRCA1 and PARP1 have close connections with AR in prostate cancer. We explored the correlation among AR, PARP1 and BRCA1 in TNBC for the first time. After BRCA1 overexpression, the expression of AR and PARP1 were decreased in mRNA and protein levels. Additionally, AR positively regulated PARP1 while PARP1 also up-regulated AR expression in vitro. We also confirmed BRCA1 expression was negatively correlated with AR and PARP1 in TNBC patients using a tissue microarray with TNBC patient samples. These results suggest that the combination of bicalutamide and PARP inhibitor may be a potential strategy for TNBC patients and merits further evaluation.
Keywords: AR, PARP1, BRCA1, combination therapy, triple-negative breast cancer.