Effect of peripheral endothelin-1 concentration on carcinoma-induced pain in mice

Victoria Pickering, R. Jay Gupta, Phuong Quang, Richard C. Jordan, Brian L. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we investigated the role of the peripheral endothelin-1 (ET-1) concentration in a cancer pain model. To test the hypothesis that the concentration of ET-1 in the tumor microenvironment is important in determining the level of cancer pain we used two cancer pain mouse models that differed significantly in production of ET-1. The two mouse cancer models were produced by injection of cells derived from a human oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma into the hind paw of female mice. Pain, as indicated by reduction in withdrawal thresholds in response to mechanical stimulation, was significantly greater in the SCC group than the melanoma group. The peripheral concentration of ET-1 within the cancer microenvironment was significantly greater in the SCC group. Intra-tumor expression of both ET-1 mRNA and ET-1 protein were significantly higher in the SCC model compared to the melanoma model. ET receptor antagonism was effective as an analgesic for cancer pain in the SCC model only. To address the potential confounding factor of tumor volume we evaluated the contribution of tumor volume to cancer pain in the two models. The mean volumes of the tumors in the melanoma group were significantly greater than the tumors in the SCC group. In both groups, the pain level correlated with tumor volume, but the correlation was stronger in the melanoma group. We conclude that ET-1 concentration is a determinant of the level of pain in a cancer pain mouse model and it is a more important factor than tumor volume in producing cancer pain. These results suggest that future treatment regimens for cancer pain directed at ET-1 receptor antagonism show promise and may be tumor type specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Cancer pain
  • Endothelin-1
  • Melanoma
  • Mouse model
  • Oral cancer
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • Tumor volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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