The Adrenergic Receptor Antagonist Carvedilol Elicits Anti-Tumor Responses in Uveal Melanoma 3D Tumor Spheroids and May Serve as Co-Adjuvant Therapy with Radiation

Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common intraocular tumor in adults. Despite local tumor control, no effective therapy has been found to prevent metastasis, resulting in a high mortality rate. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-tumor potential of non-selective ß-blockers in 3D tumor spheroids grown from UM cell lines. Of the various ß-blockers tested, carvedilol and its enantiomers were most potent in decreasing the viability of Mel270 spheroids. Carvedilol at a concentration of 10-50 µM significantly elicited cytotoxicity and induced apoptosis in spheroid cells. In result, carvedilol inhibited tumor spheroid growth and compactness, and furthermore prevented the long-term survival and repopulation of spreading spheroid cells. The drug sensitivity of the different spheroids grown from Mel270, 92-1, UPMD2, or UPMM3 cell lines was dependent on 3D morphology rather than on high-risk cytogenetic profile or adrenergic receptor expression levels. In fact, the monosomy-3-containing UPMM3 cell line was most responsive to carvedilol treatment compared to the other cell lines. The concurrent treatment of UPMM3 spheroids with carvedilol and 5 or 10 Gy irradiation revealed additive cytotoxic effects that provided tumor control. Collectively, our data demonstrate the anti-tumor properties of carvedilol and its enantiomers, which may serve as candidates for the co-adjuvant therapy of UM.


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