This press release is available in Spanish.
Barcelona, Spain: The presence of the protein poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in tumours can help predict their response to chemotherapy, a German scientist will tell the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona tomorrow (Saturday 27 March). Professor Gunter von Minckwitz, from the German Breast Group Forschungs GmBH, Neu-Isenburg, says that, contrary to current belief that PARP is associated with a limited number of tumours, he and his team found for the first time that PARP expression exists across all breast cancer subtypes, and that such tumours were highly sensitive to chemotherapy.
Professor von Minckwitz and his team set out to investigate the expression of PARP in various hormone receptor subtypes of early breast cancer and to evaluate whether or not it could predict a total response to chemotherapy given before surgery. "We knew that a new class of drug called PARP inhibitors were effective against aggressive types of breast cancer such as those involving BRCA mutations and triple-negative breast cancer, where the tumour does not express genes for the oestrogen or progesterone receptors, or for HER2," he says. "However, we didn't understand whether the presence of PARP would predict the efficacy of these drugs. Before exploring this, we needed to understand whether PARP played any role in breast cancers, whether it was restricted to particular types of tumours, how it correlated to existing prognostic and predictive markers, and whether it could predict the efficacy of chemotherapy."
PARP is a protein involved in a number of cellular processes. One of its important functions is assisting in the repair of single-strand DNA breaks. If one single-strand broken DNA is reduplicated, a double-strand broken DNA results. If PARP is inhibited, cell death occurs; this means that
|Contact: Mary Rice|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation