APC loss affects DNA damage repair causing doxorubicin resistance in breast cancer cells

Casey D. Stefanski, Kaitlyn Keffler, Stephanie McClintock, Lauren Milac, Jenifer R. Prosperi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Chemoresistance is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a subtype lacking the known breast cancer receptors used for targeted therapy, is reliant on chemotherapy as the standard of care. The Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) tumor suppressor is mutated or hypermethylated in 70% of sporadic breast cancers with APC-deficient tumors resembling the TNBC subtype. Using mammary tumor cells from the ApcMin/+ mouse model crossed to the Polyoma middle T antigen (PyMT) transgenic model, we previously showed that APC loss decreased sensitivity to doxorubicin (DOX). Understanding the molecular basis for chemoresistance is essential for the advancement of novel therapeutic approaches to ultimately improve patient outcomes. Resistance can be caused via different methods, but here we focus on the DNA repair response with DOX treatment. We show that MMTV-PyMT;ApcMin/+ cells have decreased DNA damage following 24 hour DOX treatment compared to MMTV-PyMT;Apc+/+ cells. This decreased damage is first observed 24 hours post-treatment and continues throughout 24 hours of drug recovery. Activation of DNA damage response pathways (ATM, Chk1, and Chk2) are decreased at 24 hours DOX-treatment in MMTV-PyMT;ApcMin/+ cells compared to control cells, but show activation at earlier time points. Using inhibitors that target DNA damage repair kinases (ATM, ATR, and DNA-PK), we showed that ATM and DNA-PK inhibition increased DOX-induced apoptosis in the MMTV-PyMT;ApcMin/+ cells. In the current work, we demonstrated that APC loss imparts resistance through decreased DNA damage response, which can be attenuated through DNA repair inhibition, suggesting the potential clinical use of DNA repair inhibitions as combination therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1150
Number of pages8
JournalNeoplasia (United States)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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