Macitentan blocks endothelin-1 receptor activation required for chemoresistant ovarian cancer cell plasticity and metastasis

Rosanna Sestito, Roberta Cianfrocca, Laura Rosanò, Piera Tocci, Valeriana Di Castro, Valentina Caprara, Anna Bagnato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS: In epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), activation of endothelin-1 (ET-1)/endothelin A receptor (ETAR) and ET-1/ETBR signaling is linked to many tumor promoting effects, such as proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis and chemoresistance. Understanding how to hamper the distinct mechanisms that facilitate epithelial plasticity and propagation is therefore central for improving the clinical outcome for EOC patients.

MAIN METHODS: The phosphorylation status of Akt and MAPK was evaluated by immunoblotting in A2780 and 2008 EOC cell lines and their cisplatinum-resistant variants. Vasculogenic mimicry was analyzed by vascular tubules formation assay. Tumor growth and metastases inhibition was performed in chemoresistant EOC xenografts.

KEY FINDINGS: We found that the dual ETAR/ETBR antagonist macitentan was able to inhibit the ET-1-induced activation of Akt and MAPK signaling pathways in chemoresistant EOC cells. Moreover, chemoresistant EOC cells displayed higher capability to engage vasculogenic mimicry compared to sensitive cells that was inhibited after treatment with macitentan. Finally, the specific ETAR antagonist zibotentan was less efficacious compared to macitentan to suppress tumor growth in chemoresistant EOC xenografts and the co-treatment of macitentan and cisplatinum reduced the metastatic progression.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings better clarify the ET-1-induced molecular mechanisms underlying the aggressive behavior of chemoresistant EOC cells. These results also support the use of macitentan in combination with chemotherapy as a rational therapeutic strategy for circumventing drug resistance in EOC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-8
Number of pages6
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2016


  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Pyrimidines
  • Receptor, Endothelin A
  • Sulfonamides
  • Journal Article


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