SGO 2018: PARP-7 Protein May Play a Significant Role in Survival for Ovarian Cancer

Key Points

  • Patients with a gene amplification to PARP-7 had a median overall survival greater than 6 months compared to patients that did not have any gene amplification of PARP-7.
  • Previous literature has suggested a significant role for PARP-7 in cancers.

Patients with ovarian cancer with genetic amplification in the PARP-7 protein survived longer than those without the mutation, according to a presentation at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s (SGO) 2018 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. These results call for researchers to further investigate the PARP-7 protein.

Lead researcher Lavanya Palavalli Parsons, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, presented research delving into the PARP-7 protein in ovarian cancer and genetic alterations in patients.

Some members of the PARP family of proteins—such as PARPs 1 and 2—help repair DNA damage in cancer cells, allowing cells to survive. When these PARPs are blocked with PARP inhibitors, DNA repair is stopped, causing cell death and killing cancer cells. In contrast, the specific molecular and cellular functions of PARP-7 have not yet been determined, but these promising studies suggest that further investigation is warranted.

Study Findings

In this new study, Dr. Palavalli Parsons used the Cancer Genome Atlas database (TCGA) to specifically look for patients with ovarian cancer that had gene amplification to PARP-7 compared to the patients who did not have genetic amplification to PARP-7.

Her investigation showed that patients with a gene amplification to PARP-7 had a median overall survival greater than 6 months compared to patients that did not have any gene amplification of PARP-7.

“If you took the specific patients who had alterations, they all had gene amplifications which correlated with higher levels of expression of PARP-7,” Dr. Palavalli Parsons said. “These patients with ovarian cancer lived longer.”

The PARP family consists of 17 members with most of the current research focused on the nuclear PARPs, PARP 1–3. Minimal research has been conducted on the other PARPs, though previous literature has suggested a significant role for PARP-7 in cancers, she said.

“The PARP family is still a mystery and that is why we need to continue to research PARPs,” she said. “I feel like we are only seeing the tip of a huge iceberg, which is on the verge of being uncovered with the influx of new knowledge about the PARP family.” 

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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