Inhibition of endothelin-B receptor signaling synergizes with MAPK pathway inhibitors in BRAF mutated melanoma
- Journal Article
The clinical benefit of MAPK pathway inhibition in melanoma patients carrying BRAF mutations is temporal. After the initial response to treatment, the majority of tumors will develop resistance and patients will relapse. Here we demonstrate that the endothelin-endothelin receptor B (ETBR) signaling pathway confers resistance to MAPK pathway inhibitors in BRAF mutated melanoma. MAPK blockade, in addition to being anti-proliferative, induces a phenotypic change which is characterized by increased expression of melanocyte-specific genes including ETBR. In the presence of MAPK inhibitors, activation of ETBR by endothelin enables the sustained proliferation of melanoma cells. In mouse models of melanoma, including patient-derived xenograft models, concurrent inhibition of the MAPK pathway and ETBR signaling resulted in a more effective anti-tumor response compared to MAPK pathway inhibition alone. The combination treatment significantly reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival compared to therapies with MAPK pathway inhibitors alone. The phosphoproteomic analysis revealed that ETBR signaling did not induce resistance towards MAPK pathway inhibitors by restoring MAPK activity, but instead via multiple alternative signaling pathways downstream of the small G proteins GNAq/11. Together these data indicate that a combination of MAPK pathway inhibitors with ETBR antagonists could have a synergistically beneficial effect in melanoma patients with hyperactivated MAPK signaling pathways. Show more
Journal / seriesOncogene
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