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Cancer Sci. 2006 Dec;97(12):1388-95. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Therapeutic targeting of the endothelin a receptor in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China.


The endothelin A receptor (ET(A)R) autocrine pathway is overexpressed in many malignancies, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). In this tumor, ET(A)R expression is an independent determinant of survival and a robust independent predictor of distant metastasis. To evaluate whether ET(A)R represents a new target in NPC treatment, we tested the therapeutic role of ET(A)R in NPC. Cell proliferation was inhibited by the ET(A)R-selective antagonist ABT-627 in two ET(A)R-positive NPC cells in a dose-dependent manner. Proliferation of ET(A)R-negative NPC cells was not decreased. ET(A)R blockade also resulted in sensitization to cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil-induced apoptosis. In nude mice, ABT-627 inhibited the growth of NPC cell xenografts. Combined treatment of ABT-627 with the cytotoxic drug cisplatin or 5-fluorouracil produced additive antitumor effects. The antitumor activity of ABT-627 was demonstrated finally on an experimental lung metastasis by a reduction in the number of tumors. These results support the rationale of combining ABT-627 with current standard chemotherapy to further improve the therapeutic ratio in the treatment of NPC.

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