Targeting PARP-1 with Alpha-Particles Is Potently Cytotoxic to Human Neuroblastoma in Preclinical Models
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Alpha-emitters can be pharmacologically delivered for irradiation of single cancer cells, but cellular lethality could be further enhanced by targeting alpha-emitters directly to the nucleus. PARP-1 is a druggable protein in the nucleus that is overexpressed in neuroblastoma compared with normal tissues and is associated with decreased survival in high-risk patients. To exploit this, we have functionalized a PARP inhibitor (PARPi) with an alpha-emitter astatine-211. This approach offers enhanced cytotoxicity from conventional PARPis by not requiring enzymatic inhibition of PARP-1 to elicit DNA damage; instead, the alpha-particle directly induces multiple double-strand DNA breaks across the particle track. Here, we explored the efficacy of [211At]MM4 in multiple cancers and found neuroblastoma to be highly sensitive in vitro and in vivo Furthermore, alpha-particles delivered to neuroblastoma show antitumor effects and durable responses in a neuroblastoma xenograft model, especially when administered in a fractionated regimen. This work provides the preclinical proof of concept for an alpha-emitting drug conjugate that directly targets cancer chromatin as a therapeutic approach for neuroblastoma and perhaps other cancers.