Over the last two decades, significant advances have been made in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for the treatment of atherosclerotic plaques. However, restenosis after PCI still challenges both vascular biologists and interventional cardiologists. In this study, we found that caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) displayed an inhibitory effect on human coronary smooth muscle cell (HCSMC) growth and migration. Flow cytometry analysis showed that the ratio of S phase increased after exposing cells to CAPE for 48-72 h. Pretreatment of cells with CAPE significantly suppressed Cyclin E, CDK2, Cyclin A, and proliferating-cell nuclear antibody expression. We demonstrated that CAPE inhibited AKT 1 and MEK1/2 activation. Using a local infusion system, CAPE was able to regress the intima thickening of the iliac artery in rabbits after balloon injury. The percentage of intimal thickening decreased significantly to 55.0 +/- 0.12 in the group after local CAPE infusion compared to the group after saline infusion (98.3 +/- 0.41%). In conclusion, CAPE can inhibit the proliferation and migration of HCSMCs by inducing cell cycle arrest. Decreased cell cycle genes and associated signaling pathway target gene expression may mediate anti-proliferative and anti-migration effects of CAPE. Furthermore, CAPE prevents intima thickening in rabbits after balloon angioplasty. These results indicate that CAPE may have therapeutic relevance for the prevention of restenosis during PCI in the treatment of coronary artery diseases.