Radiotherapy (RT) plays a fundamental role in the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). GBM are notoriously invasive and harbor a subpopulation of cells with stem-like features which exhibit upregulation of the DNA damage response (DDR) and are radioresistant. High radiation doses are therefore delivered to large brain volumes and are known to extend survival but also cause delayed toxicity with 50%-90% of patients developing neurocognitive dysfunction. Emerging evidence identifies neuroinflammation as a critical mediator of the adverse effects of RT on cognitive function. In addition to its well-established role in promoting repair of radiation-induced DNA damage, activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) can exacerbate neuroinflammation by promoting secretion of inflammatory mediators. Therefore, PARP represents an intriguing mechanistic link between radiation-induced activation of the DDR and subsequent neuroinflammation. PARP inhibitors (PARPi) have emerged as promising new agents for GBM when given in combination with RT, with multiple preclinical studies demonstrating radiosensitizing effects and at least 3 compounds being evaluated in clinical trials. We propose that concomitant use of PARPi could reduce radiation-induced neuroinflammation and reduce the severity of radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction while at the same time improving tumor control by enhancing radiosensitivity.
- DNA damage
- radiation therapy