Endothelin therapeutics in cancer: Where are we?

Laura Rosanò, Anna Bagnato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In human cancers, the autocrine and paracrine loop mediated by the aberrantly activation of endothelin-1 (ET-1) receptor (ET-1R) elicits pleiotropic effects, preferentially mediated by the scaffold protein β-arrestin 1 (β-arr1), on tumor cells and on the host microenvironment, providing a strong rationale for targeting ET-1 receptors. This review describes the most up-to-date preclinical and clinical results obtained by using ET-1 therapeutics. The previous negative clinical results of ET-1 therapeutics should not prevent us from setting the standard of this class of drugs for future well-designed clinical trials. The preclinical data obtained with the dual ETAR and ETBR antagonist macitentan indicate that this molecule, which targets cancer cells and tumor-associated microenvironmental elements, could be a cancer therapeutic option. The field of ET-1 therapeutics will be improved in the next decade, facilitated by the new knowledge on the genomic landscape of the human stroma and tumor, and by the low invasive approaches based on liquid biopsies for the discovery of predictive biomarkers. The information obtained from preclinical studies in patient-derived models and from the Cancer Genome Atlas will set the scene of precision medicine for cancer. Results from these studies are expected to open the possibility that ET-1R antagonists might be more efficacious as molecular cancer therapeutics, able to hamper the functional β-arr1-dependent signaling complexes, either alone or coupled with new targeted approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R469-R475
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Cancer
  • Endothelin-1
  • Endothelin-1 receptor
  • Target therapy
  • β-arrestin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Physiology (medical)


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