Targeting radioresistant breast cancer cells by single agent CHK1 inhibitor via enhancing replication stress

Yao Zhang, Jinzhi Lai, Zhanwen Du, Jinnan Gao, Shuming Yang, Shashank Gorityala, Xiahui Xiong, Ou Deng, Zhefu Ma, Chunhong Yan, Gonzalo Susana, Yan Xu, Junran Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Radiotherapy (RT) remains a standard therapeutic modality for breast cancer patients. However, intrinsic or acquired resistance limits the efficacy of RT. Here, we demonstrate that CHK1 inhibitor AZD7762 alone significantly inhibited the growth of radioresistant breast cancer cells (RBCC). Given the critical role of ATR/CHK1 signaling in suppressing oncogene-induced replication stress (RS), we hypothesize that CHK1 inhibition leads to the specific killing for RBCC due to its abrogation in the suppression of RS induced by oncogenes. In agreement, the expression of oncogenes c-Myc/CDC25A/c-Src/H-ras/E2F1 and DNA damage response (DDR) proteins ATR/ CHK1/BRCA1/CtIP were elevated in RBCC. AZD7762 exposure led to significantly higher levels of RS in RBCC, compared to the parental cells. The mechanisms by which CHK1 inhibition led to specific increase of RS in RBCC were related to the interruptions in the replication fork dynamics and the homologous recombination (HR). In summary, RBCC activate oncogenic pathways and thus depend upon mechanisms controlled by CHK1 signaling to maintain RS under control for survival. Our study provided the first example where upregulating RS by CHK1 inhibitor contributes to the specific killing of RBCC, and highlight the importance of the CHK1 as a potential target for treatment of radioresistant cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34688-34702
Number of pages15
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 7 2016


  • CHK1 inhibitor
  • Double strand break repair
  • Homologous recombination
  • Radioresistance
  • Replication stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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