Research Papers:

Norepinephrine promotes tumor microenvironment reactivity through β3-adrenoreceptors during melanoma progression

Maura Calvani _, Floriane Pelon, Giuseppina Comito, Maria Letizia Taddei, Silvia Moretti, Stefania Innocenti, Romina Nassini, Gianni Gerlini, Lorenzo Borgognoni, Franco Bambi, Elisa Giannoni, Luca Filippi and Paola Chiarugi

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:4615-4632. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2652

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Maura Calvani1, Floriane Pelon1, Giuseppina Comito1, Maria Letizia Taddei1, Silvia Moretti3, Stefania Innocenti4, Romina Nassini5, Gianni Gerlini2, Lorenzo Borgognoni2, Franco Bambi7, Elisa Giannoni1, Luca Filippi6, Paola Chiarugi1

1Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences, University of Florence, Tuscany Tumor Institute and “Center for Research, Transfer and High Education DenoTHE”, Florence 50134, Italy

2Plastic Surgery Unit, Regional Melanoma Referral Center, Tuscan Tumor Institute, Santa Maria Annunziata Hospital, Florence 50012, Italy

3Department of Surgery and Translational Medicine, Dermatology Section University of Florence, Florence, Italy

4Division of Pathology, Pistoia Hospital, Pistoia, Italy

5Department of Health Sciences, Clinical Pharmacology and Oncology Unit, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

6Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Medical Surgical Fetal-Neonatal Department, "A. Meyer" University Children's Hospital, Florence, Italy

7Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapy "A. Meyer" University Children's Hospital, Florence, Italy

Correspondence to:

Paola Chiarugi, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: β-adrenergic receptors, melanoma, tumor microenvironment, cancer associated fibroblasts, macrophages, mesenchymal stem cells

Received: August 06, 2014     Accepted: October 27, 2014     Published: December 01, 2014


Stress has an emerging role in cancer and targeting stress-related β-adrenergic receptors (AR) has been proposed as a potential therapeutic approach in melanoma. Here we report that β3-AR expression correlates with melanoma aggressiveness. In addition, we highlight that β3-AR expression is not only restricted to cancer cells, but it is also expressed in vivo in stromal, inflammatory and vascular cells of the melanoma microenvironment. Particularly, we demonstrated that β3-AR can (i) instruct melanoma cells to respond to environmental stimuli, (ii) enhance melanoma cells response to stromal fibroblasts and macrophages, (iii) increase melanoma cell motility and (iv) induce stem-like traits. Noteworthy, β3-AR activation in melanoma accessory cells drives stromal reactivity by inducing pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion and de novo angiogenesis, sustaining tumor growth and melanoma aggressiveness. β3-ARs also play a mandatory role in the recruitment to tumor sites of circulating stromal cells precursors, in the differentiation of these cells towards different lineages, further favoring tumor inflammation, angiogenesis and ultimately melanoma malignancy. Our findings validate selective β3-AR antagonists as potential promising anti-metastatic agents. These could be used to complement current therapeutic approaches for melanoma patients (e.g. propranolol) by targeting non-neoplastic stromal cells, hence reducing therapy resistance of melanoma.

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