, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 318-323
Date: 13 Sep 2008

Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1) in carcinogenesis: potential role of PARP inhibitors in cancer treatment

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Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is a nuclear, zinc-finger, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-binding protein that detects specifically DNA strand breaks generated by different genotoxic agents. Whereas activation of PARP-1 by mild genotoxic stimuli facilitates DNA repair and cell survival, severe DNA damage triggers different pathways of cell death, including PARP-mediated cell death through the translocation of apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) from the mitochondria to the nucleus. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic ablation of PARP-1 results in a clear benefit in cancer treatment by different mechanisms, including selective killing of homologous recombination-deficient tumor cells, downregulation of tumor-related gene expression, and decrease in the apoptotic threshold in the cotreatment with chemo-and radiotherapy. We summarize in this review the findings and concepts for the role of PARP-1 and poly(ADP-ribosylation) in the regulation of carcinogenesis and some of the preclinical and clinical data available for these agents, together with the challenges facing the clinical development of these agents.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer.