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Discovery that PARP protein exists in all breast tumors will help target chemo and predict response
Date:3/26/2010

chemotherapy can be targeted precisely at cancer cells, while leaving normal, healthy cells relatively untouched. A recent conference presentation* showed that the simultaneous use of a PARP inhibitor with DNA-damaging chemotherapy in breast cancer could improve overall survival. The potential role of PARP inhibitors as a new anticancer agent is currently under research in a number of other studies.

Professor von Minckwitz's team used tissue from 646 patients in a neoadjuvant Phase III trial (GeparTrio) to look for the presence of PARP and to correlate its existence with other prognostic factors and total response to chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given to patients before other treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy. They found that, although PARP was present in all tumour subtypes, it occurred most frequently in HER2 positive and triple negative tumours, and that it correlated with most known prognostic factors, except HER2.

"The relationship to total response was remarkable," says Professor von Minckwitz. "Tumours with a high level of PARP expression had a total response in 26% of cases, whereas those tumours which did not express PARP had a total response in only 9%. Additionally, we found that the presence of PARP can provide more accurate prognostic information than the grade of differentiation or degree of abnormality of tumours. We believe that this is the first study to describe a broad expression of PARP in untreated breast tumours together with a correlation of sensitivity to chemotherapy."

PARP positive tumours could become a new entity in breast cancer, the investigators say. They intend to follow up their initial findings by a trial randomising patients to either chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy plus a PARP inhibitor. "Particularly in triple-negative tumours there is a great need to improve treatment options," says Professor von Minckwitz. "Apart from chemotherapy, there is no other treatment such as endocrin
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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