Secondary BRCA1 and BRCA2 alterations and acquired chemoresistance

Weixin Wang, William D. Figg

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

33 Scopus citations


Tumor suppressor BRCA1 and BRCA2 are frequently mutated in familial breast and ovarian cancer. More than ten percent of women with breast or ovarian cancer carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutations. Cancers that arise in mutation carriers have often lost the wild-type allele through somatic alterations during tumor progression. BRCA1/2 play important roles in homologous recombination repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Because of this, BRCA1/2-deficient cancers often have a better response to DNA cross-linking agents such as platinum analogues and to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. However, over time, the majority of these BRCA1/2-deficient cancers become resistant and patients die from refractory diseases. Three recent studies demonstrated that acquired resistance to platinum analogues or PARP inhibitors in tumors carrying frame-shift BRCA1/2 mutations came from restored BRCA1/2 expression and HR function due to secondary intragenic mutations that corrected the open reading frames of mutated BRCA1/2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1005
Number of pages2
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • Cisplatin
  • Inhibitor
  • Mutation
  • PARP
  • Resistance


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