The present study determined the influence of a retinoid X receptor agonist bexarotene on angiogenesis and metastasis in solid tumours. In the experimental lung metastasis xenograft models, treatment with bexarotene inhibited the development of the lung tumour nodule formation compared to control. In vivo angiogenesis assay utilising gelfoam sponges, bexarotene reduced angiogenesis in sponges containing vascular endothelial growth factor, epidermal growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor to various extent. To determine the basis of these observations, human breast and non-small-cell lung cancer cells were subjected to migration and invasion assays in the presence of bexarotene. Our data showed that bexarotene decrease migration and invasiveness of tumour cells in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, bexarotene inhibited angiogenesis by directly inhibiting human umbilical vein endothelial cell growth and indirectly inhibiting tumour cell-mediated migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells through Matrigel matrix. Analysis of tumour-conditioned medium indicated that bexarotene decreased the secretion of angiogenic factors and matrix metalloproteinases and increased the tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases. The ability of bexarotene to inhibit angiogenesis and metastasis was dependent on activation of its heterodimerisation partner peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. Collectively, our results suggest a role of bexarotene in treatment of angiogenesis and metastasis in solid tumours.