Error-prone DNA repair pathways promote genomic instability which leads to the onset of cancer hallmarks by progressive genetic aberrations in tumor cells. The molecular mechanisms which foster this process remain mostly undefined, and breakthrough advancements are eagerly awaited. In this context, the alternative non-homologous end joining (Alt-NHEJ) pathway is considered a leading actor. Indeed, there is experimental evidence that up-regulation of major Alt-NHEJ components, such as LIG3, PolQ, and PARP1, occurs in different tumors, where they are often associated with disease progression and drug resistance. Moreover, the Alt-NHEJ addiction of cancer cells provides a promising target to be exploited by synthetic lethality approaches for the use of DNA damage response (DDR) inhibitors and even as a sensitizer to checkpoint-inhibitors immunotherapy by increasing the mutational load. In this review, we discuss recent findings highlighting the role of Alt-NHEJ as a promoter of genomic instability and, therefore, as new cancer’s Achilles’ heel to be therapeutically exploited in precision oncology.

Alternative non-homologous end-joining: Error-prone dna repair as cancer’s achilles’ heel

Caracciolo D.;Riillo C.;Tagliaferri P.;Tassone P.
Supervision
2021-01-01

Abstract

Error-prone DNA repair pathways promote genomic instability which leads to the onset of cancer hallmarks by progressive genetic aberrations in tumor cells. The molecular mechanisms which foster this process remain mostly undefined, and breakthrough advancements are eagerly awaited. In this context, the alternative non-homologous end joining (Alt-NHEJ) pathway is considered a leading actor. Indeed, there is experimental evidence that up-regulation of major Alt-NHEJ components, such as LIG3, PolQ, and PARP1, occurs in different tumors, where they are often associated with disease progression and drug resistance. Moreover, the Alt-NHEJ addiction of cancer cells provides a promising target to be exploited by synthetic lethality approaches for the use of DNA damage response (DDR) inhibitors and even as a sensitizer to checkpoint-inhibitors immunotherapy by increasing the mutational load. In this review, we discuss recent findings highlighting the role of Alt-NHEJ as a promoter of genomic instability and, therefore, as new cancer’s Achilles’ heel to be therapeutically exploited in precision oncology.
2021
Alternative non-homologous end joining pathway (Alt-NHEJ)
DNA damage
Error-prone DNA repair
Genomic instability
LIG3
PARP1
PolQ
Synthetic lethality
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12317/73893
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