ATM-Deficient Colorectal Cancer Cells Are Sensitive to the PARP Inhibitor Olaparib

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The ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase plays a central role in the cellular response to DNA damage. Loss or inactivation of both copies of the ATM gene (ATM) leads to ataxia telangiectasia, a devastating childhood condition characterized by neurodegeneration, immune deficiencies, and cancer predisposition. ATM is also absent in approximately 40% of mantle cell lymphomas (MCLs), and we previously showed that MCL cell lines with loss of ATM are sensitive to poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. Next-generation sequencing of patient tumors has revealed that ATM is altered in many human cancers including colorectal, lung, prostate, and breast. Here, we show that the colorectal cancer cell line SK-CO-1 lacks detectable ATM protein expression and is sensitive to the PARP inhibitor olaparib. Similarly, HCT116 colorectal cancer cells with shRNA depletion of ATM are sensitive to olaparib, and depletion of p53 enhances this sensitivity. Moreover, HCT116 cells are sensitive to olaparib in combination with the ATM inhibitor KU55933, and sensitivity is enhanced by deletion of p53. Together our studies suggest that PARP inhibitors may have potential for treating colorectal cancer with ATM dysfunction and/or colorectal cancer with mutation of p53 when combined with an ATM kinase inhibitor.




Wang, C., Jette, N., Moussienko, D., Bebb, D. G., & Lees-Miller, S. P. (2017). ATM-Deficient Colorectal Cancer Cells Are Sensitive to the PARP Inhibitor Olaparib. Translational Oncology, 10(2), 190–196.

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