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Targeting DNA Double-Strand Break Repair Enhances Radiosensitivity of HPV-Positive and HPV-Negative Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma to Photons and Protons.


ABSTRACT: The response of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) to radiotherapy depends on human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV) status, and where improved outcome and survival is observed in HPV-positive disease. However, strategies to further radiosensitise the tumours, particularly relatively radioresistant HPV-negative HNSCC, are actively being sought. The impact of targeting the major protein kinases involved in the signaling of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair, namely ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM), ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR), and the catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-Pkcs), on the radiosensitisation of HNSCC cells was examined. The response to both conventional photon radiotherapy, but also proton beam therapy, was analysed by clonogenic assays and 3D spheroid growth. We observed that inhibition of ATM, ATR, and particularly DNA-Pkcs, caused a significant reduction in HNSCC cell survival post-irradiation with both photons and protons, with less of an impact on the most radiosensitive HPV-positive cell line. The inhibition of DNA-Pkcs and, to a lesser extent ATM, in combination with radiation was also more effective at inhibiting the growth of 3D spheroids derived from relatively radioresistant HPV-negative HNSCC. Similar effects of the inhibitors were observed comparing photon and proton irradiation, demonstrating the potential for targeting DSB repair as an effective combination treatment for HNSCC.

SUBMITTER: Vitti ET 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7352833 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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