Blocking angiotensin II Type 1 receptor triggers apoptotic cell death in human pancreatic cancer cells

Pancreas. 2010 Jul;39(5):581-94. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e3181c314cd.


Objectives: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an aggressive malignancy with an annual mortality rate close to its annual incidence. We recently demonstrated that angiotensin II (AngII) type 1 receptor (AT1R) might be involved in PDA angiogenesis. This study evaluated the antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of an AT1R blocker, losartan, in PDA cells with different p53 mutation status.

Methods: Cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometric analysis of DNA content; apoptosis by annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate (V-FITC) and terminal deoxytransferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling staining; messenger RNA and protein by real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting; caspase-3 activity by colorimetric assay; and promoter activity by luciferase assay.

Results: Losartan dose-dependently decreased cell survival and increased their preG1 accumulation. It also increased p53, p21, p27, and Bax and reduced Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl expression. In wtp53 cells, losartan increased p53 transcription and activated caspase-3 in both cell lines. However, its proapoptotic effects in mtp53 cells were mainly caspase-3-dependent.

Conclusion: Our data describe the involvement of AT1R in PDA cell apoptotic machinery and provide the first evidences that losartan stimulates the proapoptotic signaling pathways regardless of the p53 mutation status. As loss of p53 function is frequently observed in PDA patients, our data suggest AT1R blockade as a novel therapeutic strategy to control PDA growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Losartan / pharmacology*
  • Mutation
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • BAX protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Caspase 3
  • Losartan