The Cadoret Lab recently published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences :
Over the last decade, CDK4/6 inhibitors (palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib) have emerged as promising anticancer drugs. Numerous studies have demonstrated that CDK4/6 inhibitors efficiently block the pRb-E2F pathway and induce cell cycle arrest in pRb-proficient cells. Based on these studies, the inhibitors have been approved by the FDA for treatment of advanced hormonal receptor (HR) positive breast cancers in combination with hormonal therapy. However, some evidence has recently shown unexpected effects of the inhibitors, underlining a need to characterize the effects of CDK4/6 inhibitors beyond pRb. Our study demonstrates how palbociclib impairs origin firing in the DNA replication process in pRb-deficient cell lines. Strikingly, despite the absence of pRb, cells treated with palbociclib synthesize less DNA while showing no cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, this CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment disturbs the temporal program of DNA replication and reduces the density of replication forks. Cells treated with palbociclib show a defect in the loading of the Pre-initiation complex (Pre-IC) proteins on chromatin, indicating a reduced initiation of DNA replication. Our findings highlight hidden effects of palbociclib on the dynamics of DNA replication and of its cytotoxic consequences on cell viability in the absence of pRb. This study provides a potential therapeutic application of palbociclib in combination with other drugs to target genomic instability in pRB-deficient cancers.