Background and aims: Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) and angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1R) antagonists are commonly used as a treatment for hypertension. Recent experimental and population studies have suggested that these agents may exert an inhibitory effect on malignancy, possibly through anti-angiogenic pathways. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of an ACE-I (captopril) and an AT1R antagonist (irbesartan) in colorectal cancer liver metastases.
Methods: The effect of captopril and irbesartan on tumor growth was investigated in a mouse model using quantitative stereological and histological analysis. Tumor microcirculation was assessed by microvascular resin casting. A survival study was also carried out.
Results: Both captopril and irbesartan markedly decreased tumor growth when compared to control (P = 0.003 and P = 0.004, respectively). However, there was no significant difference in survival or tumor necrosis for either of the drugs. Tumor microvasculature exhibited a reduction in central microvascular density, with constriction and tapering of vessels.
Conclusion: Captopril and irbesartan caused a marked reduction in volume of colorectal cancer liver metastases and caused changes in tumor microvasculature. However, there was no difference in percentage tumor necrosis or improvements in survival. Further investigation is needed to identify the mode of action of these agents.