(January 30, 2017) In a study funded in part by OCRFA, and published this month in Oncotarget, researchers, including first author and former OCRFA grantee Petar Jelinic, PhD, studied EMSY, a putative BRCAness gene, and its role in the suppression of DNA damage repair in ovarian cancer cells.
The EMSY gene is amplified in approximately 11% of high-grade ovarian cancer patients. It has been suggested that EMSY amplification may cause suppression on DNA damage repair in a similar manner as in BRCA1 and BRCA2 ovarian cancer patients.
Researchers from both Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and New York University Langone Medical Center tested this hypothesis and demonstrated that EMSY overexpression impairs the DNA damage repair process. Also identified was an amino acid within the EMSY protein that is required for EMSY-driven suppression of DNA damage repair. Furthermore, it was found that this amino acid is targeted by protein kinase A, an enzyme that contributes to the aggressiveness of ovarian cancer cells.
Altogether, this work may lead to stratifying ovarian cancer patients with EMSY-amplified tumors into a group that may benefit from the therapies effective in BRCA-positive patients such as PARP inhibitors.