Background: The endothelin system is implicated in the pathogenesis of melanoma. We evaluated the effects of bosentan - a dual endothelin receptor antagonist - in patients receiving first-line dacarbazine therapy for stage IV metastatic cutaneous melanoma in a phase 2, proof-of-concept study.Results: Eligible patients had metastatic cutaneous melanoma naïve to chemotherapy or immunotherapy, no central nervous system involvement, and serum lactate dehydrogenase <1.5 × upper limit of normal. Treatment comprised bosentan 500 mg twice daily or matching placebo, in addition to dacarbazine 1000 mg/m2 every three weeks. Eighty patients were randomized (double-blind) and 38 in each group received study treatment. Median time to tumor progression (primary endpoint) was not significantly different between the two groups (placebo, 2.8 months; bosentan, 1.6 months; bosentan/placebo hazard ratio, 1.144; 95% CI, 0.717-1.827; p = 0.5683). Incidences of most adverse events and clinically relevant increases in hepatic transaminases were similar between treatment groups although hemoglobin decrease to >8 and ≤ 10 g/dL and ≤ 8 g/dL was more common in the bosentan group.Conclusions: In patients receiving dacarbazine as first-line chemotherapy for metastatic melanoma, the addition of high-dose bosentan had no effect on time to tumor progression or other efficacy parameters. There were no unexpected safety findings.Trial registration: This study is registered in ClinicalTrials.gov under the unique identifier NCT01009177.