Stat1 confers sensitivity to radiation in cervical cancer cells by controlling Parp1 levels: a new perspective for Parp1 inhibition

Giuseppina Raspaglio, Marianna Buttarelli, Flavia Filippetti, Alessandra Battaglia, Alexia Buzzonetti, Giovanni Scambia, Daniela Gallo

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Cervical cancer (CC) is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death in women. According to international guidelines, a standard treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer (LACC) consists of exclusive concurrent chemoradiation treatment (CRT). However, chemoradioresistance and subsequent relapse and metastasis of cancer occur in many patients, and survival for these women has generally remained poor. Therefore, strategies to overcome resistance are urgently needed. We have recently reported a radiosensitizing effect of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) in CC, associated with the control of [Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase −1] PARP1 levels, a key factor in cell response to DNA damage induced by radiation. Here, we sought to decipher the underlying mechanism of STAT1-mediated control of PARP1, elucidating its role as a radiosensitizer in CC. Functional and molecular biology studies demonstrated that STAT1 may act at both transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels to modulate PARP1 expression in CC cells. In light of these results, we tested the effect of Olaparib in sensitizing CC cells to radiation and investigated signaling pathways involved in the activity observed. Results showed that PARP1 inhibition, at clinically achievable doses, may indeed selectively improve the sensitivity of resistant CC cells to DNA-damaging treatment. The translational relevance of our findings was supported by preliminary results in a limited patient cohort, confirming that higher PARP1 levels are significantly associated with a radioresistant phenotype. Finally, bioinformatics analysis of GEPIA and TCGA databases, demonstrated that PARP1 mRNA is higher in CC than in normal tissues and that increased PARP1 mRNA expression levels are associated with poor prognosis of LACC patients. Overall, our data open new opportunities for the development of personalized treatments in women diagnosed with CC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number933
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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