Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Mar 20;24(6):5894. doi: 10.3390/ijms24065894.
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary cancer of the eye in adults. A new systemic therapy is needed to reduce the high metastasis and mortality rate. As β-blockers are known to have anti-tumor effects on various cancer entities, this study focuses on investigating the effect of β1-selective blockers atenolol, celiprolol, bisoprolol, metoprolol, esmolol, betaxolol, and in particular, nebivolol on UM. The study was performed on 3D tumor spheroids as well as 2D cell cultures, testing tumor viability, morphological changes, long-term survival, and apoptosis. Flow cytometry revealed the presence of all three β-adrenoceptors with a dominance of β2-receptors on cell surfaces. Among the blockers tested, solely nebivolol concentration-dependently decreased viability and altered 3D tumor spheroid structure. Nebivolol blocked the repopulation of cells spreading from 3D tumor spheroids, indicating a tumor control potential at a concentration of ≥20 µM. Mechanistically, nebivolol induced ATP depletion and caspase-3/7 activity, indicating that mitochondria-dependent signaling is involved. D-nebivolol or nebivolol combined with the β2-antagonist ICI 118.551 displayed the highest anti-tumor effects, suggesting a contribution of both β1- and β2-receptors. Thus, the present study reveals the tumor control potential of nebivolol in UM, which may offer a perspective for co-adjuvant therapy to reduce recurrence or metastasis.