Purpose: The objective of the study was to determine whether astrocytes and brain endothelial cells protect glioma cells from temozolomide (TMZ) through an endothelin-dependent signaling mechanism and to examine the therapeutic efficacy of the dual endothelin receptor antagonist, macitentan, in orthotopic models of human glioblastoma. Experimental Design: We evaluated several endothelin receptor antagonists for their ability to inhibit astrocyte- and brain endothelial cell-induced protection of glioma cells from TMZ in chemoprotection assays. We compared survival in nude mice bearing orthotopically implanted LN-229 glioblastomas or TMZ-resistant (LN-229Res and D54Res) glioblastomas that were treated with macitentan, TMZ, or both. Tumor burden was monitored weekly with bioluminescence imaging. The effect of therapy on cell division, apoptosis, tumor-associated vasculature, and pathways associated with cell survival was assessed by immunofluorescent microscopy. Results: Only dual endothelin receptor antagonism abolished astrocyte- and brain endothelial cell-mediated protection of glioma cells from TMZ. In five independent survival studies, including TMZ-resistant glioblastomas, 46 of 48 (96%) mice treated with macitentan plus TMZ had no evidence of disease (P<0.0001), whereas all mice in other groups died. In another analysis, macitentan plus TMZ therapy was stopped in 16 mice after other groups had died. Only 3 of 16 mice eventually developed recurrent disease, 2 of which responded to additional cycles of macitentan plus TMZ. Macitentan downregulated proteins associated with cell division and survival in glioma cells and associated endothelial cells, which enhanced their sensitivity to TMZ. Conclusions: Macitentan plus TMZ are well tolerated, produce durable responses, and warrant clinical evaluation in glioblastoma patients.
- Received December 10, 2014.
- Revision received May 13, 2015.
- Accepted May 30, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.