Inhibition of angiogenesis and tumor growth by beta and gamma-secretase inhibitors

Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 May 2;514(1):1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.02.050.


The involvement of beta-secretase and gamma-secretase in producing the beta-amyloid component of senile plaques found in the brain of Alzheimer's patients has fueled a major research effort to design selective inhibitors of these proteases. Interestingly, gamma-secretase cleaves several proteins including Notch, E-cadherin, CD44 and ErbB-4 (erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 4), which are important modulators of angiogenesis. The beta-amyloid precursor protein, which is cleaved by beta-secretase and gamma-secretase to produce beta-amyloid, is highly expressed in the endothelium of neoforming vessels suggesting that it might play a role during angiogenesis. These data prompted us to explore the effects of beta and gamma-secretase inhibitors of different structures on angiogenesis and tumor growth. Both the gamma and beta-secretase inhibitors tested reduce endothelial cell proliferation without inducing cellular toxicity, suppress the formation of capillary structures in vitro and oppose the sprouting of microvessel outgrowths in the rat aortic ring model of angiogenesis. Moreover, they potently inhibit the growth and vascularization of human glioblastoma and human lung adenocarcinoma tumors xenotransplanted into nude mice. Altogether these data suggest that the gamma and beta-secretases play an essential role during angiogenesis and that inhibitors of the beta and gamma-secretases may constitute new classes of anti-angiogenic and anti-tumoral compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Capillaries / drug effects
  • Capillaries / growth & development
  • Carbamates / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dipeptides / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endopeptidases
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Morphogenesis / drug effects
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / blood supply
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control*
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Carbamates
  • Dipeptides
  • L 685458
  • N-(N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)alanyl)phenylglycine tert-butyl ester
  • N-benzyloxycarbonyl-valyl-leucyl-leucinal
  • Oligopeptides
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Endopeptidases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • BACE1 protein, human
  • Bace1 protein, mouse