Genomic and epigenomic BRCA alterations predict adaptive resistance and response to platinum-based therapy in patients with triple-negative breast and ovarian carcinomas
Sci Transl Med
Sci Transl Med 2022 Jul 6; 14(652):eabn1926
CA034196, CA255705, Scott R. MacKenzie Foundation
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and ovarian carcinomas (OvCas) with BRCA1 promoter methylation (BRCA1meth) respond more poorly to alkylating agents compared to those bearing mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCAmut). This is a conundrum given the biologically equivalent homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) induced by these genetic and epigenetic BRCA perturbations. We dissected this problem through detailed genomic analyses of TNBC and OvCa cohorts and experimentation with patient-derived xenografts and genetically engineered cell lines. We found that despite identical downstream genomic mutational signatures associated with BRCA1meth and BRCAmut states, BRCA1meth uniformly associates with poor outcomes. Exposure of BRCA1meth TNBCs to platinum chemotherapy, either as clinical treatment of a patient or as experimental in vivo exposure of preclinical patient derived xenografts, resulted in allelic loss of BRCA1 methylation and increased BRCA1 expression and platinum resistance. These data suggest that, unlike BRCAmut cancers, where BRCA loss is a genetically "fixed" deficiency state, BRCA1meth cancers are highly adaptive to genotoxin exposure and, through reversal of promoter methylation, recover BRCA1 expression and become resistant to therapy. We further found a specific augmented immune transcriptional signal associated with enhanced response to platinum chemotherapy but only in patients with BRCA-proficient cancers. We showed how integrating both this cancer immune signature and the presence of BRCA mutations results in more accurate predictions of patient response when compared to either HRD status or BRCA status alone. This underscores the importance of defining BRCA heterogeneity in optimizing the predictive precision of assigning response probabilities in TNBC and OvCa.
Menghi, Francesca; Banda, Kalyan; Kumar, Pooja A; Straub, Robert; Dobrolecki, Lacey; Rodriguez, Isabel V; Yost, Susan E; Chandok, Harshpreet; Radke, Marc R; Somlo, George; Yuan, Yuan; Lewis, Michael T; Swisher, Elizabeth M; and Liu, Edison T, "Genomic and epigenomic BRCA alterations predict adaptive resistance and response to platinum-based therapy in patients with triple-negative breast and ovarian carcinomas" (2022). Faculty Research 2022. 113.