HRD Score Can Help Predict Response To Some Chemotherapeutic Agents Interview with:
Dr. Kirsten Timms, PhD
Program Director
VP Biomarker Discovery at Myriad Genetics Inc

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Timms: The Homologous Recombination Deficiency (HRD) score is a tumor biomarker which quantitates genomic rearrangements associated with defects in DNA damage repair. It has been shown in multiple studies that HRD score can identify tumors sensitive to DNA damaging agents such as platinum salts or PARP inhibitors. Many tumors are spatially heterogeneous: different parts of a tumor show variation at both the genomic level, and in their appearance. This tumor heterogeneity has the potential to negatively impact the accuracy of biomarker tests. This study assessed the consistency of the HRD score in multiple biopsies obtained from the same cancer to understand the impact of tumor heterogeneity on the HRD score. The main finding of this study is that the HRD score is highly conserved between different biopsies of the same tumor.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Timms: This study demonstrates that the HRD score is a robust biomarker even in the presence of tumor heterogeneity. What it means is that any part of a tumor can be used to determine if the tumor is going to respond to treatment with DNA damaging agents. We think that the robustness of the HRD score is because the HRD score measures an intrinsic property of a tumor conserved in every cancer cell.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Timms: One important question is how cancer treatments affect the HRD score.  Will the HRD score remain the same after a tumor is treated with chemotherapy or radiation? Another important question is how the HRD score compares between the primary tumor and metastatic lesions. This is a very important question because often it is hard to obtain a sample from metastasis while a sample from the primary lesion is available. If the HRD score were conserved in metastatic lesions, there would be no need in obtaining samples from them; a sample from the primary tumor would suffice.


ASCO 2015 abstract:

Reproducibility of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) scores in biopsies of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) tumors.

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Dr. Kirsten Timms, PhD, Program Director, & VP Biomarker Discovery at Myriad Genetics Inc (2015). HRD Score Can Help Predict Response To Some Chemotherapeutic Agents