Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) protein coordinates responses to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and the ATM-null status caused by biallelic ATM gene inactivation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) results in resistance to p53-dependent apoptosis. Accordingly, alternative strategies to target ATM-null CLL are needed. ATM is a serine/threonine protein kinase that synchronises rapid DNA damage response (DDR) to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) with activation of cell cycle checkpoints, DNA repair and apoptosis via p53 activation. ATM-null cells are defective in a type of DSB repair that involves homologous recombination and rely on co-operating and compensatory DNA repair pathways for their survival. Therefore, inhibition of DNA repair pathways to which CLL cells with loss of ATM signalling become addicted could provide ‘synthetic lethality’ and induce tumour specific killing. Indeed, we have recently shown that inhibition of a single strand break protein PARP induces differential killing of ATM-null CLL tumours. Here we expand the concept of synthetic lethality in ATM-null CLL and address the question of whether ATM-null deficient CLL cells can be targeted by inhibition of the ATR protein that governs responses to post-replicative damage and co-operates with ATM.
|Publisher||American Society of Hematology|