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01.08.2011 | Review | Ausgabe 4/2011

Breast Cancer Research 4/2011

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibition: a new direction for BRCAand triple-negative breast cancer?

Breast Cancer Research > Ausgabe 4/2011
Ruth Plummer
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​bcr2877) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The author is an inventor on a patent of use of the PARP inhibitor PF0367338 and has received research funding from Pfizer GRD for the development of this agent. Additionally, she has received funding to cover the costs of clinical trials activity relating to AZD2281, ABT888 and BSI-201 (iniparib) and laboratory research funding for pharmacodynamic research with BSI-201.


Inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)-mediated DNA repair have shown promise in early clinical studies in the treatment of specific subgroups of breast cancer. Notably, phase II trials indicate that olaparib, an oral PARP inhibitor, has activity as a single agent in BRCA-related tumours, and that a combination of iniparib, an intravenous PARP inhibitor, and chemotherapy offers a survival advantage, compared with chemotherapy alone, in triple-negative breast cancer. Phase III data on the latter indication are expected in 2011. Intriguingly, iniparib does not increase toxicity when used as a chemo-potentiating agent, suggesting that it differs in its mechanism of action from other agents in this class. Overall, PARP inhibitors represent a potentially important new class of anti-cancer agents with two potential modes of action, as single agents causing synthetic lethality and as chemo-potentiating agents.

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