In addition to long-term regulation of angiogenesis, angiogenic growth factor signalling through nitric oxide (NO) acutely controls blood flow and haemostasis. Inhibition of this pathway may account for the hypertensive and pro-thrombotic side effects of the vascular endothelial growth factor antagonists that are currently used for cancer treatment. The first identified endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor, thrombospondin 1, also controls tissue perfusion, haemostasis and radiosensitivity by antagonizing NO signalling. We examine the role of these and other emerging activities of thrombospondin 1 in cancer. Clarifying how endogenous and therapeutic angiogenesis inhibitors regulate vascular NO signalling could facilitate development of more selective inhibitors.