Cannabinoids as potential new therapy for the treatment of gliomas

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“Gliomas constitute the most frequent and malignant primary brain tumors. Current standard therapeutic strategies (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapeutics, e.g., temozolomide, carmustin or carboplatin) for their treatment are only palliative and survival diagnosis is normally 6-12 months.
The development of new therapeutic strategies for the management of gliomas is therefore essential.
Interestingly, cannabinoids have been shown to exert antiproliferative effects on a wide spectrum of cells in culture.
Of interest, cannabinoids have displayed a great potency in reducing glioma tumor growth either in vitro or in animal experimental models, curbing the growth of xenografts generated by subcutaneous or intratecal injection of glioma cells in immune-deficient mice.
Moreover, cannabinoids appear to be selective antitumoral agents as they kill glioma cells without affecting the viability of nontransformed counterparts.
A pilot clinical trial on patients with glioblastoma multiforme demonstrated their good safety profile together and remarkable antitumor effects, and may set the basis for further studies aimed at better evaluating the potential anticancer activity of cannabinoids.”
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Cannabinoids as a Promising Therapeutic Approach for the Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme: A Literature Review

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“Gliobalstoma multiforme (GBM) or grade 4 astrocytoma is the most malignant form of primary brain tumor. Treatment of glioblastoma is difficult despite of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Patients with glioblastoma survive for less than 12 months.

Considering to biology function of glioblastoma, researchers have recently offered new therapeutic approaches such as cannabinoid therapy for glioblastoma.

Cannabinoids are active compounds of Cannabis sativa that operate in the body similar to endogenous canabinoids –the endocannabinoids- through cell surface receptors.

It is interesting that cannabinoids could exert a wide spectrum from antiproliferative effects in condition of the cell culture, animal models of glioblastoma and clinical trials.

As a result, Cannabinoids seem to modulate intracellular signaling pathways and the endoplasmic reticulum stress response in glioma cells.

Those play antitumoral effects through apoptosis induction and inhibition of glioblastoma angiogenesis.

The goal of this study was to discuss cannabinoid therapy and also what cellular mechanisms are involved in the tumoricidal effect of the cannabinoids.

In this review article, we will focus on cannabinoids, their receptor dependent functional roles against glioblastoma acccording to growth, angiogenesis, metastasis, and future purposes in exploring new possible therapeutic opportunities.”

http://journals.sbmu.ac.ir/Neuroscience/article/view/13655

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Cannabinoids in Glioblastoma Therapy: New Applications for Old Drugs

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“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant brain tumor and one of the deadliest types of solid cancer overall. Despite aggressive therapeutic approaches consisting of maximum safe surgical resection and radio-chemotherapy, more than 95% of GBM patients die within 5 years after diagnosis. Thus, there is still an urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies against this disease.

Accumulating evidence indicates that cannabinoids have potent anti-tumor functions and might be used successfully in the treatment of GBM.

This review article summarizes the latest findings on the molecular effects of cannabinoids on GBM, both in vitro and in (pre-) clinical studies in animal models and patients.

The therapeutic effect of cannabinoids is based on reduction of tumor growth via inhibition of tumor proliferation and angiogenesis but also via induction of tumor cell death. Additionally, cannabinoids were shown to inhibit the invasiveness and the stem cell-like properties of GBM tumors. Recent phase II clinical trials indicated positive results regarding the survival of GBM patients upon cannabinoid treatment.

Apart from a direct killing effect on tumor cells, cannabinoids can also induce cell cycle arrest thereby inhibiting tumor cell proliferation.

In conclusion, cannabinoids show promising anti-neoplastic functions in GBM by targeting multiple cancer hallmarks such as resistance to programmed cell death, neoangiogenesis, tissue invasion or stem cell-induced replicative immortality.

The effects of cannabinoids can be potentially enhanced by combination of different cannabinoids with each other or with chemotherapeutic agents. This requires, however, a detailed understanding of cannabinoid-induced molecular mechanisms and pharmacological effects.

Ultimately, these findings might foster the development of improved therapeutic strategies against GBM and, perhaps, other diseases of the nervous system as well.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00159/full

“Accumulating evidence indicates that cannabinoids have potent anti-tumor functions and might be used successfully in the treatment of GBM.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29867351

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Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids.

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“Numerous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits have been attributed to marijuana since its first reported use in 2,600 BC in a Chinese pharmacopoeia. The phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the most studied extracts from cannabis sativa subspecies hemp and marijuana. CBD and Δ9-THC interact uniquely with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Through direct and indirect actions, intrinsic endocannabinoids and plant-based phytocannabinoids modulate and influence a variety of physiological systems influenced by the ECS.

METHODS:

In 1980, Cunha et al. reported anticonvulsant benefits in 7/8 subjects with medically uncontrolled epilepsy using marijuana extracts in a phase I clinical trial. Since then neurological applications have been the major focus of renewed research using medical marijuana and phytocannabinoid extracts.

RESULTS:

Recent neurological uses include adjunctive treatment for malignant brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, and the childhood seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. In addition, psychiatric and mood disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addiction, postconcussion syndrome, and posttraumatic stress disorders are being studied using phytocannabinoids.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this review we will provide animal and human research data on the current clinical neurological uses for CBD individually and in combination with Δ9-THC. We will emphasize the neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and immunomodulatory benefits of phytocannabinoids and their applications in various clinical syndromes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29770251

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/

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INSIGHT ON THE IMPACT OF ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM IN CANCER: A REVIEW.

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“In the last decades, the endocannabinoid system has attracted a great interest in medicine and cancer disease is probably one of its most promising therapeutic areas.

On the one hand, endocannabinoid system expression has been found altered in numerous types of tumours compared to healthy tissue, and this aberrant expression has been related to cancer prognosis and disease outcome, suggesting a role of this system in tumour growth and progression that depends on cancer type.

On the other hand, it has been reported that cannabinoids exert an anticancer activity by inhibiting the proliferation, migration and/or invasion of cancer cells; and also tumour angiogenesis.

The endocannabinoid system may be considered as a new therapeutic target, although further studies to fully establish the effect of cannabinoids on tumour progression remain necessary.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29663308

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The use of cannabis in supportive care and treatment of brain tumor

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“Anticancer Effects of Cannabinoids may be able to Prolong Life.

Cannabinoids are multitarget substances. Currently available are dronabinol (synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC), synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) the respective substances isolated and purified from cannabis, a refined extract, nabiximols (THC:CBD = 1.08:1.00); and nabilone, which is also synthetic and has properties that are very similar to those of THC.

Cannabinoids have a role in the treatment of cancer as palliative interventions against nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. THC and nabilone are also used for anorexia and weight loss, whereas CBD has no orexigenic effect. The psychotropic effects of THC and nabilone, although often undesirable, can improve mood when administered in low doses. CBD has no psychotropic effects; it is anxiolytic and antidepressive.

Of particular interest are glioma studies in animals where relatively high doses of CBD and THC demonstrated significant regression of tumor volumes (approximately 50% to 95% and even complete eradication in rare cases). Concomitant treatment with X-rays or temozolomide enhanced activity further. Similarly, a combination of THC with CBD showed synergistic effects. Although many questions, such as on optimized treatment schedules, are still unresolved, today’s scientific results suggest that cannabinoids could play an important role in palliative care of brain tumor patients.

THC, a partial CB1, CB2 agonist, has the stigma of psychotropic effects that are mediated by CB1 stimulation. However, CB1 stimulation is necessary for improving mood and appetite and many other effects. At present, it is hard to imagine a better approach than adjusting THC doses individually to balance wanted versus unwanted effects. Generally, higher doses are needed to achieve analgesic and antiemetic effects. Even much higher, supraphysiologic oral doses would be needed to combat tumors.

Combinations were synergistic under many circumstances such as in pain and antitumor studies. Cannabinoids differ in their antitumor activities and probably in their mechanisms and targets, which is a rationale for combinations. However, for many pharmacological effects (except against tumors) roughly 10-times higher daily doses are needed for CBD compared to THC.

In summary, the endocannabinoid system is likely playing a crucial role in palliative care. The future will show whether an optimized treatment strategy with cannabinoids can also prolong life of brain tumor patients by their virtue to combat cancer cells.”

https://academic.oup.com/nop/article/4/3/151/2918616

“Cannabinoid Drug Prolongs the Life of Brain Tumor Patients in Phase II Trials”  https://labiotech.eu/gw-pharmaceuticals-brain-tumor/

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CBD Enhances the Anticancer Effects of THC

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“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and other cannabinoids can act as direct anticancer agents in multiple types of cancer in culture and in vivo.
Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of  Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Human GlioblastomaCell Proliferation and Survival.
Δ9-THC and Cannabidiol Inhibit the Growth of Multiple Glioblastoma Cell Lines.
Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Δ9-THC on Glioblastoma Cell Growth.
Combination treatments with cannabinoids may improve overall efficacy”

“Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Human Glioblastoma Cell Proliferation and Survival”   http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/9/1/180.full

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Hypoxia-induced inhibition of the endocannabinoid system in glioblastoma cells.

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“The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the regulation of physiological and pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer.

Hypoxia is a fundamental phenomenon for the establishment and maintenance of the microenvironments in various physiological and pathological conditions. However, the influence of hypoxia on the endocannabinoid system is not fully understood. In the present study, we investigated the effects of hypoxia on the endocannabinoid system in malignant brain tumors.

Although cannabinoid receptor (CB) engagement induces cell death in U-87 MG cells in normoxic conditions, CB agonist-induced death was attenuated in hypoxic conditions. These results suggest that hypoxia modifies the endocannabinoid system in glioblastoma cells.

Hypoxia-induced inhibition of the endocannabinoid system may aid the development of glioblastoma.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29130103

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The use of cannabidiol for seizure management in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy.

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“Epilepsy, commonly encountered by patients with brain tumors, is often refractory to standard therapies. Our aim was to examine the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD; Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals) in those patients with epilepsy with concomitant tumors enrolled in The University of Alabama at Birmingham CBD Program (NCT02700412 and NCT02695537). Of the three patients with refractory seizures and a history of a primary brain tumor, two had improvement in seizure frequency and all three had improvement in seizure severity. These pilot results suggest that CBD should be further studied for the treatment of brain tumor-related epilepsy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29063814

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13554794.2017.1391294?journalCode=nncs20

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A Review of the Therapeutic Antitumor Potential of Cannabinoids.

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“The aim of this review is to discuss cannabinoids from a preclinical and clinical oncological perspective and provide the audience with a concise, retrospective overview of the most significant findings concerning the potential use of cannabinoids in cancer treatment.

RESULTS:

Cannabis sativa is a plant rich in more than 100 types of cannabinoids. Besides exogenous plant cannabinoids, mammalian endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid analogues have been identified. Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) have been isolated and characterized from mammalian cells. Through cannabinoid receptor and non-receptor signaling pathways, cannabinoids show specific cytotoxicity against tumor cells, while protecting healthy tissue from apoptosis. The dual antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of cannabinoids and associated signaling pathways have been investigated on a large panel of cancer cell lines. Cannabinoids also display potent anticancer activity against tumor xenografts, including tumors that express high resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Few studies have investigated the possible synergistic effects of cannabinoids with standard oncology therapies, and are based on the preclinically confirmed concept of “cannabinoid sensitizers.” Also, clinical trials aimed to confirm the antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids have only been evaluated on a small number of subjects, with no consensus conclusions regarding their effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

A large number of cannabinoid compounds have been discovered, developed, and used to study the effects of cannabinoids on cancers in model systems. However, few clinical trials have been conducted on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancers in humans. Further studies require extensive monitoring of the effects of cannabinoids alone or in combination with standard anticancer strategies. With such knowledge, cannabinoids could become a therapy of choice in contemporary oncology.”

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