Targeted blockade of HSP90 impairs DNA-damage response proteins and increases the sensitivity of ovarian carcinoma cells to PARP inhibition

Rashid Gabbasov, I. Daniel Benrubi, Shane W. O’Brien, John J. Krais, Neil Johnson, Samuel Litwin, Denise C. Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Pharmacological inhibition of PARP is a promising approach in treating high grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC). PARP inhibitors (PARPi) are most active in patients with defects in DNA damage repair (DDR) mechanisms, such as alterations in expression/function of DNA repair and homologous recombination (HR) genes/proteins, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. Benefit of PARPi could be extended towards HR-proficient patients by combining PARPi with agents that functionally abrogate HR. An attractive molecular target for this purpose is heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), which mediates the maturation and stability of several key proteins required for DDR. Here, we tested the hypothesis that targeted inhibition of HSP90 with a small-molecule inhibitor ganetespib would sensitize non-BRCA mutant ovarian carcinoma (OC) cells to PARP inhibition by talazoparib. We used commercially available cell lines, along with several novel HGSOC OC cell lines established in our laboratory. Ganetespib treatment destabilized HSP90 client proteins involved in DNA damage response and cell cycle checkpoint, and disrupted γ-irradiation-induced DNA repair. The effects of the combination of ganetespib and talazoparib on OC cell viability and survival were also analyzed, and among the non-BRCA mutant cell lines analyzed, the combination was synergistic in several cell lines (OVCAR-3, OC-1, OC-16). Together, our data suggest that ganetespib-mediated inhibition of HSP90 effectively disrupts critical DDR pathway proteins and may sensitize OC cells without ‘BRCAness’ to PARPi. From a clinical perspective, this suggests that HSP90 inhibition has the potential to sensitize some HGSOC patients without HR pathway alterations to PARPi, and potentially other DNA-damage inducing agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1045
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019


  • HSP90 inhibitor
  • Ovarian cancer
  • PARP inhibitor
  • targeted therapy


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