Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) lack effective targeted therapies, and cytotoxic chemotherapies remain the standard of care for this subtype. Owing to their increased genomic instability, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors (PARPi) are being tested against TNBCs. In particular, clinical trials are now interrogating the efficacy of PARPi combined with chemotherapies. Intriguingly, while response rates are low, cohort of patients do respond to PARPi in combination with chemotherapies. Moreover, recent studies suggest that an increase in levels of ROS may sensitize cells to PARPi. This represents a therapeutic opportunity, as several chemotherapies, including doxorubicin, function in part by producing ROS. We previously demonstrated that the p66ShcA adaptor protein is variably expressed in TNBCs. We now show that, in response to therapy-induced stress, p66ShcA stimulated ROS production, which, in turn, potentiated the synergy of PARPi in combination with doxorubicin in TNBCs. This p66ShcA-induced sensitivity relied on the accumulation of oxidative damage in TNBCs, rather than genomic instability, to potentiate cell death. These findings suggest that increasing the expression of p66ShcA protein levels in TNBCs represents a rational approach to bolster the synergy between PARPi and doxorubicin.


Eduardo Cepeda Cañedo, Stephanie Totten, Ryuhjin Ahn, Paul Savage, Deanna MacNeil, Jesse Hudson, Chantal Autexier, Genevieve Deblois, Morag Park, Michael Witcher, Josie Ursini-Siegel


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