The targeting of mre11 or rad51 sensitizes colorectal cancer stem cells to chk1 inhibition

Luca Mattiello, Sara Soliman Abdel Rehim, Martina Musella, Antonella Sistigu, Andrea Guarracino, Sara Vitale, Francesca Corradi, Claudia Galassi, Francesca Sperati, Gwenola Manic, Ruggero De Maria Marchiano, Ilio Vitale

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) drive not only tumor initiation and expansion, but also therapeutic resistance and tumor relapse. Therefore, CSC eradication is required for effective cancer therapy. In preclinical models, CSCs demonstrated high capability to tolerate even extensive genotoxic stress, including replication stress, because they are endowed with a very robust DNA damage response (DDR). This favors the survival of DNA-damaged CSCs instead of their inhibition via apoptosis or senescence. The DDR represents a unique CSC vulnerability, but the abrogation of the DDR through the inhibition of the ATR-CHK1 axis is effective only against some subtypes of CSCs, and resistance often emerges. Here, we analyzed the impact of druggable DDR players in the response of patient-derived colorectal CSCs (CRC-SCs) to CHK1/2 inhibitor prexasertib, identifying RAD51 and MRE11 as sensitizing targets enhancing prexasertib efficacy. We showed that combined inhibition of RAD51 and CHK1 (via B02+prexasertib) or MRE11 and CHK1 (via mirin+prexasertib) kills CSCs by affecting multiple genoprotective processes. In more detail, these two prexasertib-based regimens promote CSC eradication through a sequential mechanism involving the induction of elevated replication stress in a context in which cell cycle checkpoints usually activated during the replication stress response are abrogated. This leads to uncontrolled proliferation and premature entry into mitosis of replication-stressed cells, followed by the induction of mitotic catastrophe. CRC-SCs subjected to RAD51+CHK1 inhibitors or MRE11+CHK1 inhibitors are eventually eliminated, and CRC-SC tumorspheres inhibited or disaggregated, via a caspase-dependent apoptosis. These results support further clinical development of these prexasertib-based regimens in colorectal cancer patients.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1957-N/A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Chromosomal instability
  • Colorectal cancer
  • DNA damage
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tumor-initiating cells


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