Many triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) show impaired breast cancer susceptibility gene I (BRCA1) function, called BRCAness. BRCAness tumors may show similar sensitivities to anticancer drugs as tumors with BRCA1 mutations. In this study, we investigated the association of BRCA mutations or BRCAness with drug sensitivities in TNBC.
BRCAness was evaluated as BRCA1-like scores, using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification in 12 TNBC cell lines, including four with mutations. Sensitivities to docetaxel, cisplatin, and epirubicin were compared with BRCA mutations and BRCA1-like scores. Cisplatin sensitivity was examined in BRCA1 knockdown Michigan Cancer Foundation-7 cell lines.
Eight and four cell lines had characteristics of BRCAness and non-BRCAness, respectively. The 50% inhibitory concentration of docetaxel was higher in BRCA mutant and BRCAness cell lines than their counterparts. BRCA1-like scores showed a weak positive correlation with docetaxel sensitivity (r = 0.377; P = 0.039). Regarding cisplatin, scores were lower in BRCA mutants and BRCAness tumors than their counterparts. A negative correlation was found between BRCA1-like scores and cisplatin sensitivity (r = -0.407; P = 0.013). No differences were found for epirubicin. BRCA1 gene knockdown increased the cisplatin sensitivity of Michigan Cancer Foundation-7 cells.
BRCA1-like scores were associated with cisplatin sensitivity and docetaxel resistance. BRCA1-like score is hence a promising indicator for estimating drug sensitivities in TNBC.

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