Purpose: Angiotensin II is a bioactive peptide of the renin-angiotensin system, acting not only as a vasoconstrictor but also as a growth promoter via angiotensin II type 1 receptors (AT1R). The present study examined AT1R expression in human ovarian carcinoma and attempted to determine whether AT1R blocker could suppress the tumor progression. Experimental Design: Expression of AT1R, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and CD34 was immunohistochemically analyzed in ovarian tumor tissues (n = 99). Effects of AT1R blocker on invasive potential and VEGF secretion in ovarian cancer cells were examined in vitro. Effects of AT1R blocker in vivo were evaluated in a mouse model of peritoneal carcinomatosis. Results: AT1R was expressed in 57 of 67 (85%) invasive ovarian adenocarcinomas and 12 of 18 (66%) borderline malignant tumors but in only 2 of 14 (14%) benign cystadenomas. In invasive carcinomas, VEGF expression intensity and intratumor microvessel density were significantly higher in cases that were strongly positive for AT1R (n = 37) compared with those in cases weakly positive (n = 20) or negative (n = 10) for AT1R. Angiotensin II significantly enhanced the invasive potential and VEGF secretion in AT1R-positive SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells, both of which were completely inhibited by the AT1R blocker candesartan. Administration of candesartan into SKOV-3-transplanted athymic mice resulted in the reduction of peritoneal dissemination, decreased ascitic VEGF concentration, and suppression of tumor angiogenesis. Conclusions: AT1R is functionally expressed in ovarian carcinoma and involved in tumor progression and angiogenesis. AT1R blockade therapy may become a novel and promising strategy for ovarian cancer treatment.
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