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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 454783, 10 pages
Research Article

Synergistic Inhibition of Angiogenesis by Artesunate and Captopril In Vitro and In Vivo

Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Staudinger Weg 5, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Received 6 June 2013; Revised 15 August 2013; Accepted 20 August 2013

Academic Editor: Shrikant Anant

Copyright © 2013 Benjamin Krusche et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inhibition of angiogenesis represents one major strategy of cancer chemotherapy. In the present investigation, we investigated the synergism of artesunate and captopril to inhibit angiogenesis. Artesunate is an antimalarial derivative of artemisinin from the Chinese medicinal plant, Artemisia annua L., which also reveals profound anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo. Captopril is an angiotensin I-converting (ACE) inhibitor, which is well established in Western academic medicine. Both compounds inhibited migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro. The combination of both drugs resulted in synergistically inhibited migration. Whereas artesunate inhibited HUVEC growth in the XTT assay, captopril did not, indicating independent modes of action. We established a chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay of quail embryos (Coturnix coturnix L.) and a computer-based evaluation routine for quantitative studies on vascularization processes in vivo. Artesunate and captopril inhibited blood vessel formation and growth. For the first time, we demonstrated that both drugs revealed synergistic effects when combined. These results may also have clinical impact, since cardiovascular diseases and cancer frequently occur together in older cancer patients. Therefore, comorbid patients may take advantage, if they take captopril to treat cardiovascular symptoms and artesunate to treat cancer.