Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase 1 (PARP-1) inhibitors are thought as breakthrough for cancer treatment in solid tumors such as breast cancer through their effects on PARP's enzymatic activity. Our previous findings showed that the hydrophilic PARP inhibitor PJ34 enhances the sensitivity of p53 proficient MCF7 breast carcinoma cells to topotecan, a DNA Topoisomerase I (TOP 1) inhibitor.
In the present study, we combine the classical TOP 1 poison camptothecin or its water-soluble derivative topotecan with PJ34 to investigate the potentiation of chemotherapeutic efficiency in MCF7 (p53WT), MDA-MB231 (p53mut) breast carcinoma cells and SCC022 (p53null) squamous carcinoma cells.
We show that, following TPT-PJ34 combined treatment, MCF7 cells exhibit apoptotic death while MDA-MB231 and SCC022 cells are more resistant to these agents. Specifically, in MCF7, (i) PJ34 in combination with TPT causes a G2/M cell cycle arrest followed by massive apoptosis; (ii) PJ34 addition reverts TPT-dependent PARP-1 automodification and triggers caspase-dependent PARP-1 proteolysis; (iii) TPT, used as a single agent, stimulates p53 expression while in combination with PJ34 increases p53, TAp63α and TAp63γ protein levels with a concomitant reduction of MDM2 protein.
The identification of p63 proteins as new players involved in the cancer cell response to TPT-PJ34 is relevant for a better understanding of the PARP1-dependent signaling of DNA damage. Furthermore, our data indicate that, in response to TPT-PJ34 combined chemotherapy, a functional cooperation between p53 and TAp63 proteins may occur and be essential to trigger apoptotic cell death.