Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults and has a high incidence of metastatic disease. Current treatments have shown limited clinical activity in patients with uveal melanoma with metastasis and there is an urgent need for new effective therapies. Recent findings have shown that women with uveal melanoma have better survival rates than men. The G protein-coupled estrogen receptor-1 (GPER) has distinct functions from those of the classic estrogen receptors ERα/β and its activation by specific agonists has tumor-suppressive roles in several cancers. However, the role of GPER had not previously been investigated in uveal melanoma. We demonstrated that downregulation of GPER in uveal melanoma cells decreased expression of p53 and stimulated cell growth. In contrast, the clinical GPER agonist, LNS8801, upregulated p53 and p21, induced melanocytic differentiation markers, inhibited cell proliferation and cell migration, and induced apoptosis. Furthermore, LNS8801 treatment arrested the cells in G2-M-phase of the cell cycle with concomitant activation of mitotic markers and disruption of the mitotic spindle apparatus. LNS8801 significantly inhibited tumor growth of uveal melanoma xenografts in vivo, suggesting that GPER agonists may be a novel treatment for uveal melanoma.
Significance: Current treatments against metastatic uveal melanoma have shown limited clinical activity and there is an urgent need for effective therapies. Here, we demonstrate that the GPER agonist LNS8801 induced both GPER-dependent and GPER-independent effects and elicited potent anticancer activities in vitro and in vivo. Our results complement and support the ongoing clinical trial of LNS8801 in advanced uveal melanoma.
© 2023 The Authors; Published by the American Association for Cancer Research.