Defective homologous recombination DNA repair as therapeutic target in advanced chordoma

Stefan Gröschel*, Daniel Hübschmann, Francesco Raimondi, Peter Horak, Gregor Warsow, Martina Fröhlich, Barbara Klink, Laura Gieldon, Barbara Hutter, Kortine Kleinheinz, David Bonekamp, Oliver Marschal, Priya Chudasama, Jagoda Mika, Marie Groth, Sebastian Uhrig, Stephen Krämer, Christoph Heining, Christoph E. Heilig, Daniela RichterEva Reisinger, Katrin Pfütze, Roland Eils, Stephan Wolf, Christof von Kalle, Christian Brandts, Claudia Scholl, Wilko Weichert, Stephan Richter, Sebastian Bauer, Roland Penzel, Evelin Schröck, Albrecht Stenzinger, Richard F. Schlenk, Benedikt Brors, Robert B. Russell, Hanno Glimm, Matthias Schlesner, Stefan Fröhling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Chordomas are rare bone tumors with few therapeutic options. Here we show, using whole-exome and genome sequencing within a precision oncology program, that advanced chordomas (n = 11) may be characterized by genomic patterns indicative of defective homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair and alterations affecting HR-related genes, including, for example, deletions and pathogenic germline variants of BRCA2, NBN, and CHEK2. A mutational signature associated with HR deficiency was significantly enriched in 72.7% of samples and co-occurred with genomic instability. The poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor olaparib, which is preferentially toxic to HR-incompetent cells, led to prolonged clinical benefit in a patient with refractory chordoma, and whole-genome analysis at progression revealed a PARP1 p.T910A mutation predicted to disrupt the autoinhibitory PARP1 helical domain. These findings uncover a therapeutic opportunity in chordoma that warrants further exploration, and provide insight into the mechanisms underlying PARP inhibitor resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1635
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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