Publication Date



Science Translational Medicine


Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPis) have changed the treatment paradigm in breast cancer gene (BRCA)–mutant high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSC). However, most patients eventually develop resistance to PARPis, highlighting an unmet need for improved therapeutic strategies. Using high-throughput drug screens, we identified ataxia telangiectasia and rad3-related protein/checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1) pathway inhibitors as cytotoxic and further validated the activity of the CHK1 inhibitor (CHK1i) prexasertib in PARPi-sensitive and -resistant BRCA-mutant HGSC cells and xenograft mouse models. CHK1i monotherapy induced DNA damage, apoptosis, and tumor size reduction. We then conducted a phase 2 study (NCT02203513) of prexasertib in patients with BRCA-mutant HGSC. The treatment was well tolerated but yielded an objective response rate of 6% (1 of 17; one partial response) in patients with previous PARPi treatment. Exploratory biomarker analyses revealed that replication stress and fork stabilization were associated with clinical benefit to CHK1i. In particular, overexpression of Bloom syndrome RecQ helicase (BLM) and cyclin E1 (CCNE1) overexpression or copy number gain/amplification were seen in patients who derived durable benefit from CHK1i. BRCA reversion mutation in previously PARPi-treated BRCA-mutant patients was not associated with resistance to CHK1i. Our findings suggest that replication fork–related genes should be further evaluated as biomarkers for CHK1i sensitivity in patients with BRCA-mutant HGSC.


Animals, Female, Humans, Mice, Antineoplastic Agents, Biomarkers, BRCA1 Protein, Breast Neoplasms, Drug Resistance, Neoplasm, Ovarian Neoplasms, Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.