Antihypertension drug losartan may improve treatment of ovarian cancer

A new study from a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has found that the hypertension drug losartan, which targets the angiotensin signaling pathway, may improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy agents used to treat ovarian cancer. Previous research from the same team identified a similar effect for losartan in animal models of breast and pancreatic cancer, leading to a phase 2 clinical trial that had promising results against pancreatic cancer.
"We know that solid stress imposed by growing cancer cells and the extracellular matrix molecules they produce can compress blood vessels, reducing the delivery of drugs and oxygen to tumors," says Lei Xu, Ph.D., of the Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology, co-senior author of the report published online in PNAS. "The extracellular matrix itself can keep high-molecular-weight drugs from penetrating tumors, and angiotensin signaling contributes to matrix formation. Since levels of an important enzyme in the angiotensin pathway are elevated and associated with poor outcomes in ovarian cancer, we investigated whether the use of losartan to decrease fibrosis could improve outcomes in animal models of ovarian cancer."

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