Recent studies suggest that PARP inhibitors and POLQ inhibitors confer synthetic lethality in BRCA1-deficient tumors by accumulation of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) gaps at replication forks. Loss of USP1, a deubiquitinating enzyme, is also synthetic lethal with BRCA1 deficiency, and USP1 inhibitors are now undergoing clinical development for these cancers. Here, we show that USP1 inhibitors also promote the accumulation of ssDNA gaps during replication in BRCA1-deficient cells, and this phenotype correlates with the drug sensitivity. USP1 inhibition increased monoubiquitinated PCNA at replication forks, mediated by the ubiquitin ligase RAD18, and knockdown of RAD18 caused USP1 inhibitor resistance and suppression of ssDNA gaps. USP1 inhibition overcame PARP inhibitor resistance in a BRCA1-mutated xenograft model and induced ssDNA gaps. Furthermore, USP1 inhibition was synergistic with PARP and POLQ inhibition in BRCA1-mutant cells, with enhanced ssDNA gap accumulation. Finally, in patient-derived ovarian tumor organoids, sensitivity to USP1 inhibition alone or in combination correlated with the accumulation of ssDNA gaps. Assessment of ssDNA gaps in ovarian tumor organoids therefore represents a rapid approach for predicting response to USP1 inhibition in ongoing clinical trials.

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