Despite the success of poly-ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) in the clinic, high rates of resistance to PARPi presents a challenge in the treatment of ovarian cancer, thus it is imperative to find therapeutic strategies to combat PARPi resistance. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of epigenetic modifiers euchromatic histone lysine methyltransferases 1/2 (EHMT1/2) reduces the growth of multiple PARPi-resistant ovarian cancer cell lines and tumor growth in a PARPi-resistant mouse model of ovarian cancer. We found that combinatory EHMT and PARP inhibition increases immunostimulatory double-stranded RNA formation and elicits several immune signaling pathways in vitro. Using epigenomic profiling and transcriptomics, we found that EHMT2 is bound to transposable elements, and that EHMT inhibition leads to genome-wide epigenetic and transcriptional derepression of transposable elements. We validated EHMT-mediated activation of immune signaling and upregulation of transposable element transcripts in patient-derived, therapy-naïve, primary ovarian tumors, suggesting potential efficacy in PARPi-sensitive disease as well. Importantly, using multispectral immunohistochemistry, we discovered that combinatory therapy increased CD8 T-cell activity in the tumor microenvironment of the same patient-derived tissues. In a PARPi-resistant syngeneic murine model, EHMT and PARP inhibition combination inhibited tumor progression and increased Granzyme B+ cells in the tumor. Together, our results provide evidence that combinatory EHMT and PARP inhibition stimulates a cell autologous immune response in vitro, is an effective therapy to reduce PARPi-resistant ovarian tumor growth in vivo, and promotes antitumor immunity activity in the tumor microenvironment of patient-derived ex vivo tissues of ovarian cancer.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.