Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) were developed primarily to treat hypertension, but several recent studies have shown that they could have additional benefits.
In one study, mice in which the gene for ACE had been deleted were found to have lower body weight and a lower proportion of body fat than their wild type litter mates. The decreased body fat in the ACE knock-out mice was independent of food intake and appeared to be due to increased metabolism of fatty acids in the liver, with an additional effect of increased glucose tolerance.
Another study found that use of either ACE inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) significantly reduced basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in patients at high risk of these keratinocyte cancers.
High levels of Angiotensin II have also been linked to the pro-angiogenic protein, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA).
An ARB significantly inhibited the Angiotensin II induced increase in VEGF in PDA cell lines and, in an earlier study, an ACE inhibitor was shown to have a similar effect. These studies suggest that ACE inhibitors and ARBs may represent potential novel and promising strategies for controlling angiogenesis, prevention of metastasis, and prolongation of survival in patients with primary or metastatic PDA.