Among several types of DNA lesions, the DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) are one of the most deleterious and harmful. Mammalian cells mount a coordinated response to DSBs with the aim of appropriately repair the DNA damage. Indeed, failure of the DNA damage response (DDR) can lead to the development of cancer-prone genetic diseases. The identification and development of drugs targeting proteins involved in the DDR is even more investigated, as it gives the possibility to specifically target cancer cells. Indeed, the administration of DNA repair inhibitors could be combined with chemo- and radiotherapy, thus improving the eradication of tumor cells. Here, we provide an overview about DSBs damage response, focusing on the role of the DSBs repair mechanisms, of chromatin modifications, and of the cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 which plays a multifunctional role in controlling genome integrity. Moreover, the most investigated DSBs enzyme inhibitors tested as potential therapeutic agents for anti-cancer therapy are reported.
Keywords: DNA damage response, DNA double strand breaks, DNA repair, cancer susceptibility, inhibitors of DNA repair, cancer therapy
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