MDPI Cancers: Synergistic Antitumor Activity of Talazoparib and Temozolomide in Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors (Kurmasheva, Lai, & Chen)





Elena Mironova, Sebastian Molinas, Vanessa Del Pozo, Abhik M. Bandyopadhyay, Zhao Lai, Dias Kurmashev, Eric L. Schneider, Daniel V. Santi, Yidong Chen, Raushan T. Kurmasheva

Simple Summary

Mutation of the SMARCB1 gene can cause one of the most aggressive and lethal cancers of early childhood and infancy, malignant rhabdoid tumor (MRT). Despite the standard multimodal therapy (resection, conventional chemotherapy, and radiotherapy), the outlook for young children with MRT is poor. For infants, the disease can also preclude the use of radiotherapy. Numerous experimental treatments explore epigenetic mechanisms, but the DNA damage response has not yet been extensively evaluated as a therapeutic approach for MRT. We report a new therapeutic strategy for SMARCB1-deficient MRTs, combining PARP1 inhibition and DNA damage induction. The observed synergy between the PEGylated PARP1 inhibitor talazoparib (PEG~TLZ) and the DNA alkylating agent temozolomide (TMZ) may lead to improved therapeutic strategies for patients with this challenging cancer. We identified a new potential biomarker of response to PEG~TLZ+TMZ, O6-methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT), and uncovered dysregulated signaling pathways involved in the response. Additionally, we elucidated the pro-survival role of SMARCB1 loss in MRT cells.


Malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRTs) are among the most aggressive and treatment-resistant malignancies affecting infants, originating in the kidney, brain, liver, and soft tissues. The 5-year event-free survival rate for these cancers is a mere 20%. In nearly all cases of MRT, the SMARCB1 gene (occasionally SMARCA4)—a pivotal component of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex—is homozygously deleted, although the precise etiology of these tumors remains unknown. While young patients with localized MRT generally show improved outcomes, especially those who are older and have early-stage disease, the overall prognosis remains poor despite optimal standard treatments. This highlights the urgent need for more effective treatment strategies. We investigated the antitumor activity of a PARP1 inhibitor (talazoparib, TLZ) combined with a DNA alkylating agent (temozolomide, TMZ) in MRT xenograft models. PARP1 is a widely targeted molecule in cancer treatment, and beyond its role in DNA repair, it participates in transcriptional regulation by recruiting chromatin remodeling complexes to modulate DNA accessibility for RNA polymerases. To widen the therapeutic window of the drug combination, we employed PEGylated TLZ (PEG~TLZ), which has been reported to reduce systemic toxicity through slow drug release. Remarkably, our findings indicate that five out of six MRT xenografts exhibited an objective response to PEG~TLZ+TMZ therapy. Significantly, the loss of SMARCB1 was found to confer a protective effect, correlating with higher expression levels of DNA damage and repair proteins in SMARCB1-deficient MRT cells. Additionally, we identified MGMT as a potential biomarker indicative of in vivo MRT response to PEG~TLZ+TMZ therapy. Moreover, our analysis revealed alterations in signaling pathways associated with the observed antitumor efficacy. This study presents a novel and efficacious therapeutic approach for MRT, along with a promising candidate biomarker for predicting tumor response.


malignant rhabdoid tumor; SMARCB1; PARP1; DNA damage and repair; pediatric cancer therapy

Read Full Text

Article Categories: Research Paper

Since 2004, UT Health San Antonio, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute’s (Greehey CCRI) mission has been to advance scientific knowledge relevant to childhood cancer, contribute to understanding its causes, and accelerate the translation of knowledge into novel therapies. Greehey CCRI strives to have a national and global impact on childhood cancer by discovering, developing, and disseminating new scientific knowledge. Our mission consists of three key areas — research, clinical, and education.

Stay connected with the Greehey CCRI on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.