ALDH1A1 promotes PARP inhibitor resistance by enhancing retinoic acidreceptor-mediated DNA polymerase θ expression.

Lavudi K. et al.

Poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerase (PARP) inhibitors (PARPi) have been approved for both frontline and recurrent setting in ovarian cancer with homologous recombination (HR) repair deficiency. However, more than 40\% of BRCA1/2-mutated ovarian cancer lack the initial response to PARPi treatment, and the majority of those that initially respond eventually develop resistance. Our previous study has demonstrated that increased expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) contributes to PARPi resistance in BRCA2-mutated ovarian cancer cells by enhancing microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ) but the mechanism remains unknown. Here, we find that ALDH1A1 enhances the expression of DNA polymerase θ (Polθ, encoded by the POLQ gene) in ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the retinoic acid (RA) pathway is involved in the transcription activation of the POLQ gene. The RA receptor (RAR) can bind to the retinoic acid response element (RARE) located in the promoter of the POLQ gene, promoting transcription activation-related histone modification in the presence of RA. Given that ALDH1A1 catalyzes the biosynthesis of RA, we conclude that ALDH1A1 promotes POLQ expression via the activation of the RA signaling pathway. Finally, using a clinically-relevant patient-derived organoid (PDO) model, we find that ALDH1A1 inhibition by the pharmacological inhibitor NCT-505 in combination with the PARP inhibitor olaparib synergistically reduce the cell viability of PDOs carrying BRCA1/2 mutation and positive ALDH1A1 expression. In summary, our study elucidates a new mechanism contributing to PARPi resistance in HR-deficient ovarian cancer and shows the therapeutic potential of combining PARPi and ALDH1A1 inhibition in treating these patients.


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July, 2023


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