Identification of new active agents against sarcoma is considered an important challenge in medical oncology. ET-743 (Trabectidin; Yondelis) has recently emerged as the first active drug developed against sarcoma in the last two decades, with promising results especially against soft-tissue sarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma (ES). In this study, we analyzed the molecular mechanisms responsible for resistance to ET-743 in ES cells. Three resistant cell variants (TC/ET 3 nM, TC/ET 6 nM and TC/ET 12 nM) were obtained, showing 28-, 47- and 102-fold increase in ET-743 resistance. Cross-resistance to other drugs was analyzed. Comparative genomic hybridization and cDNA microarray technology were employed to characterize and compare the gene expression profile of two TC/ET variants with the parental cell line. TC/ET cells show a conventional multidrug resistance phenotype and P-glycoprotein overexpression was found to significantly contribute to ET-743 resistance. However, functional studies with the cyclosporine analogue, PSC-833, indicate that other mechanisms are involved in resistance to ET-743. The gene expression profile of TC/ET cells indicated, among up-regulated genes, an increase in expression of insulin-like growth factor receptor-I (IGF-IR) and one of its major intracellular mediators, insulin receptor substrate-1. Functional studies using a neutralizing antibody anti-IGF-IR confirmed involvement of this signaling pathway in resistance to ET-743. Simultaneous blockage of both P-glycoprotein and IGF-IR completely restored sensitivity to ET-743 in ES cells. Overall, these findings provide impetus for future studies testing the therapeutic value of new specific inhibitors of P-glycoprotein and IGF-IR, which could represent a concrete therapeutic option for ES patients refractory to conventional agents.