Nicolay NH, Carter R, Hatch SB, Schultz N, Prevo R, McKenna WG, Helleday T, Sharma RA
Carcinogenesis 33 (11) 2026-2034 [2012-11-00; online 2012-07-20]
DNA polymerase eta (pol η) is the only DNA polymerase causally linked to carcinogenesis in humans. Inherited deficiency of pol η in the variant form of xeroderma pigmentosum (XPV) predisposes to UV-light-induced skin cancer. Pol η-deficient cells demonstrate increased sensitivity to cisplatin and oxaliplatin chemotherapy. We have found that XP30R0 fibroblasts derived from a patient with XPV are more resistant to cell kill by ionising radiation (IR) than the same cells complemented with wild-type pol η. This phenomenon has been confirmed in Burkitt's lymphoma cells, which either expressed wild-type pol η or harboured a pol η deletion. Pol η deficiency was associated with accumulation of cells in S-phase, which persisted after IR. Cells deficient in pol η demonstrated increased homologous recombination (HR)-directed repair of double strand breaks created by IR. Depletion of the HR protein, X-ray repair cross-complementing protein 3 (XRCC3), abrogated the radioresistance observed in pol η-deficient cells as compared with pol η-complemented cells. These findings suggest that HR mediates S-phase-dependent radioresistance associated with pol η deficiency. We propose that pol η protein levels in tumours may potentially be used to identify patients who require treatment with chemo-radiotherapy rather than radiotherapy alone for adequate tumour control.