Recent evidence supports the involvement of integrins in angiogenesis: blockade of alpha v beta 3 and alpha v beta 5 integrins disrupts angiogenesis leading to decreased blood vessel formation and hence decreased tumor growth. We hypothesized that av antagonists could inhibit tumor growth in tumor cells devoid of alpha v beta 3 integrins. We evaluated SM256 and SD983, novel small molecules that are specific av antagonists in mouse models of angiogenesis and tumorigenesis, and compared them with standards: TNP470, a fumagillin analog in the clinic, and flavopiridol, a cell cycle kinase inhibitor. In vitro SM256 was a selective alpha v beta 3 inhibitor with an IC50 = 4nM, and the affinity of SD983 against the mouse endothelial alpha v beta 3 integrin yielded an IC50 = 2nM and an IC50 = 54nM against alpha v beta 5. In the mouse Matrigel model of angiogenesis SM256 decreased blood vessel formation (hemoglobin content) with an ED50 = 0.055 ug/kg/day, tenfold more potent than TNP470. SG545, an ester of SD983, decreased blood vessel formation with an ED50 = 6 ug/kg/day, while flavopiridol ED50 = 18 ug/kg/day. In the mouse xenograft model, using human colon carcinoma RKO cells that do not express alpha v beta 3 but express alpha v beta 5, tumor growth was inhibited by SG545 (10 mg/kg/day) and flavopiridol (5 mg/kg/every other day) 40% and 70%, respectively (p < 0.05). Although the proliferative index (measured by BrdU incorporation) was not significantly changed with SM256, SG545 or flavopiridol (29-32%), the apoptotic index increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the SM256 and SG545-treated groups (2.3-2.7%) compared with controls (1.1%), suggesting increased cell death contributed to decreased tumor volumes. Neovascularization decreased with SM256 and SG545 treatment. The data demonstrate that potent selective av antagonist can target endothelial cells, tumor cells, inhibit angiogenesis and inhibit tumor growth.