The differential metabolic signature of breast cancer cellular response to olaparib treatment

Berardi, Domenica and Hunter, Yasmin and Van Den Driest, Lisa and Farrell, Gillian and Rattray, Nicholas J. W. and Rattray, Zahra (2022) The differential metabolic signature of breast cancer cellular response to olaparib treatment. Cancers, 14 (15). 3661. ISSN 2072-6694 (

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Metabolic reprogramming and genomic instability are key hallmarks of cancer, the combined analysis of which has gained recent popularity. Given the emerging evidence indicating the role of oncometabolites in DNA damage repair and its routine use in breast cancer treatment, it is timely to fingerprint the impact of olaparib treatment in cellular metabolism. Here, we report the biomolecular response of breast cancer cell lines with DNA damage repair defects to olaparib exposure. Following evaluation of olaparib sensitivity in breast cancer cell lines, we immunoprobed DNA double strand break foci and evaluated changes in cellular metabolism at various olaparib treatment doses using untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analysis. Following identification of altered features, we performed pathway enrichment analysis to measure key metabolic changes occurring in response to olaparib treatment. We show a cell-line-dependent response to olaparib exposure, and an increased susceptibility to DNA damage foci accumulation in triple-negative breast cancer cell lines. Metabolic changes in response to olaparib treatment were cell-line and dose-dependent, where we predominantly observed metabolic reprogramming of glutamine-derived amino acids and lipids metabolism. Our work demonstrates the effectiveness of combining molecular biology and metabolomics studies for the comprehensive characterisation of cell lines with different genetic profiles. Follow-on studies are needed to map the baseline metabolism of breast cancer cells and their unique response to drug treatment. Fused with genomic and transcriptomics data, such readout can be used to identify key oncometabolites and inform the rationale for the design of novel drugs or chemotherapy combinations.