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FEN1 Blockade for Platinum Chemo-Sensitization and Synthetic Lethality in Epithelial Ovarian Cancers

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian HicksonORCiD, Dr Natalie TatumORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.FEN1 plays critical roles in long patch base excision repair (LP-BER), Okazaki fragment maturation, and rescue of stalled replication forks. In a clinical cohort, FEN1 overexpression is associated with aggressive phenotype and poor progression-free survival after platinum chemother-apy. Pre-clinically, FEN1 is induced upon cisplatin treatment, and nuclear translocation of FEN1 is dependent on physical interaction with importin β. FEN1 depletion, gene inactivation, or inhibition re-sensitizes platinum-resistant ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin. BRCA2 deficient cells exhibited synthetic lethality upon treatment with a FEN1 inhibitor. FEN1 inhibitor-resistant PEO1R cells were generated, and these reactivated BRCA2 and overexpressed the key repair proteins, POLβ and XRCC1. FEN1i treatment was selectively toxic to POLβ deficient but not XRCC1 deficient ovarian cancer cells. High throughput screening of 391,275 compounds identified several FEN1 inhibitor hits that are suitable for further drug development. We conclude that FEN1 is a valid target for ovarian cancer therapy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mesquita KA, Ali R, Doherty R, Toss MS, Miligy I, Alblihy A, Dorjsuren D, Simeonov A, Jadhav A, Wilson DM, Hickson I, Tatum NJ, Rakha EA, Madhusudan S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancers

Year: 2021

Volume: 13

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 14/04/2021

Acceptance date: 05/04/2021

Date deposited: 19/07/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6694

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/cancers13081866


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Funder referenceFunder name
Naaz-Coker Ovarian Cancer Fellowship, University of Nottingham