The endothelin axis in urologic tumors: mechanisms of tumor biology and therapeutic implications

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2006 Jan;6(1):73-81. doi: 10.1586/14737140.6.1.73.


Endothelin (ET)-1 and its receptors ET-A and ET-B, referred to commonly as the endothelin axis, have been identified in various human cancers, especially gynecologic tumors, such as breast cancer or ovarian cancer, but also including urologic tumor entities. They play a key role in tumor growth and progression by influencing critical cancer pathways, such as apoptosis, angiogenesis and proliferation. In prostate cancer, overexpression of the ET-A receptor increases with tumor progression, and clinical trials with selective ET-A receptor antagonists, such as atrasentan (ABT-627), have shown promising early results. In preclinical models of bladder cancer, overexpression of the ET axis has been demonstrated and ET-targeting agents are under investigation. This paper reviews the role of the ET axis in human cancers and focuses on preclinical and clinical studies in urologic tumor entities to further define the role of ET-targeting agents as targeted molecular therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Disease Progression
  • Endothelin-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Receptor, Endothelin A / physiology*
  • Receptor, Endothelin B / physiology*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / physiopathology*


  • Endothelin-1
  • Receptor, Endothelin A
  • Receptor, Endothelin B