Germ-line or somatic inactivation of BRCA1 is a defining feature for a portion of human breast cancers. Here we evaluated the anti-proliferative activity of 198 FDA-approved and experimental drugs against four BRCA1-mutant (HCC1937, MDA-MB-436, SUM1315MO2, and SUM149PT) and four BRCA1-wild-type (MDA-MB-231, SUM229PE, MCF10A, and MCF7) breast cancer cell lines. We found that all BRCA1-mutant cell lines were insensitive to inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 and 2 (MEK1/2) Selumetinib and Pimasertib in contrast to BRCA1-wildtype control cell lines. However, unexpectedly, only two BRCA1-mutant cell lines, HCC1937 and MDA-MB-436, were hypersensitive to a nucleotide analogue 6-thioguanine (6-TG). SUM149PT cells readily formed radiation-induced RAD51-positive nuclear foci indicating a functional homologous recombination, which may explain their resistance to 6-TG. However, the reason underlying 6-TG resistance of SUM1315MO2 cells remains unclear. Our data reveal a remarkable heterogeneity among BRCA1-mutant cell lines and provide a reference for future studies.

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Journal Scientific Reports
Gu, Y. (Yuexi), Helenius, M. (Mikko), Väänänen, K. (Kristiina), Bulanova, D. (Daria), Saarela, J. (Jani), Sokolenko, A, … Kuznetsov, S. (Sergey). (2016). BRCA1-deficient breast cancer cell lines are resistant to MEK inhibitors and show distinct sensitivities to 6-thioguanine. Scientific Reports, 6. doi:10.1038/srep28217