Loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding the Krebs cycle enzymes fumarate hydratase (FH) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) lead to excess accumulation of fumarate and succinate, respectively. Germline mutations in FH lead to a genetic predisposition to hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC)-associated RCC. Similarly, loss-of-function alterations of SDH, most commonly SDHB, are associated with SDH-deficient neoplasms, including RCC. FH and SDHB deficient RCC tends to be aggressive and metastasize early with very limited treatment options. The oncometablites produced by these mutations, fumarate and succinate, competitively inhibit αKG-dependent dioxygenases, resulting in dysregulated DNA methylation and histone modification. We have previously demonstrated that elevated levels of fumarate and succinate both suppress the homologous recombination (HR) DNA-repair pathway through inhibition of the lysine demethylase KDM4B, resulting in aberrant hypermethylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) at loci surrounding DNA breaks and masking a local H3K9 trimethylation signal that is essential for the proper execution of HR. In this study, we sought to identify novel treatment approaches that exploit genomic instability in FH- and SDHB-deficient RCC. Temozolomide (TMZ), an alkylating agent, mediates its cytotoxic effect by attaching methyl groups to DNA (O6-guanine, N7-guanine and N3-adenine). 16 N3-MetA and N7-MetG repair are mediated by the base excision repair (BER) in a process involving PARP. While the combination of PARP inhibitors with TMZ has been shown to increase TMZ-induced cytotoxicity, clinical trials investigating combination therapy have been hampered by significant toxicity. Using CRISPR/Cas9, we developed new syngeneic FH- and SDHB-deficient murine models of RCC. We demonstrate that FH- and SDHB-deficient cells have accumulation of fumarate and succinate leading to an increase in unresolved DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Treatment with PARP inhibition and temozolomide results in marked in vitro cytotoxicity in FH- and SDHB-deficient cells, even at low concentrations of TMZ (50 µM). In vivo, the combination of standard dose BGB-290 and low-dose TMZ (3mg/kg/dose) results in significantly delayed tumor progression in an SDHB deficient RENCA model without any significant increase in toxicity. Notably, the TMZ dose of 3mg/kg/dose is significantly lower than the 50mg/kg/dose that is commonly used for in vivo studies. Taken together, these findings provide the basis for a novel therapeutic strategy exploiting HR deficiency in FH and SDHB-deficient RCC with combined PARP inhibition and low-dose alkylating chemotherapy. Furthermore, the development of a new syngeneic mouse model provides a tool for the future study of immunotherapy in Krebs-cycle-deficient RCC.

Citation Format: Daiki Ueno, Amrita Sule, Jiayu Liang, Jinny van Doorn, Ranjini Sundaram, Randy Caliliw, Huihui Ye, Rong Rong Huang, Jing Li, Karla Boyd, Ranjit S. Bindra, Juan C. Vasquez, Brian M. Shuch. Targeting Krebs-cycle-deficient renal cell carcinoma with PARP inhibitor and low-dose alkylating chemotherapy [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR-NCI-EORTC Virtual International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics; 2021 Oct 7-10. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Mol Cancer Ther 2021;20(12 Suppl):Abstract nr P055.