ATM Kinase Inhibition Preferentially Sensitises PTEN-Deficient Prostate Tumour Cells to Ionising Radiation

Conor Hanna, Victoria L Dunne, Steven M Walker, Karl T Butterworth, Nuala McCabe, David J J Waugh, Richard D Kennedy, Kevin M Prise

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Radical radiotherapy, often in combination with hormone ablation, is a safe and effective treatment option for localised or locally-advanced prostate cancer. However, up to 30% of patients with locally advanced PCa will go on to develop biochemical failure, within 5 years, following initial radiotherapy. Improving radiotherapy response is clinically important since patients exhibiting biochemical failure develop castrate-resistant metastatic disease for which there is no curative therapy and median survival is 8-18 months. The aim of this research was to determine if loss of PTEN (highly prevalent in advanced prostate cancer) is a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Previous work has demonstrated PTEN-deficient cells are sensitised to inhibitors of ATM, a key regulator in the response to DSBs. Here, we have shown the role of PTEN in cellular response to IR was both complex and context-dependent. Secondly, we have confirmed ATM inhibition in PTEN-depleted cell models, enhances ionising radiation-induced cell killing with minimal toxicity to normal prostate RWPE-1 cells. Furthermore, combined treatment significantly inhibited PTEN-deficient tumour growth compared to PTEN-expressing counterparts, with minimal toxicity observed. We have further shown PTEN loss is accompanied by increased endogenous levels of ROS and DNA damage. Taken together, these findings provide pre-clinical data for future clinical evaluation of ATM inhibitors as a neoadjuvant/adjuvant in combination with radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients harbouring PTEN mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2020

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