The heterogeneity and complexity of Cannabis extracts as antitumor agents

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“The Cannabis plant contains over 100 phytocannabinoids and hundreds of other components. The biological effects and interplay of these Cannabis compounds are not fully understood and yet influence the plant’s therapeutic effects.

Here we assessed the antitumor effects of whole Cannabis extracts, which contained significant amounts of differing phytocannabinoids, on different cancer lines from various tumor origins.

Our results show that specific Cannabis extracts impaired the survival and proliferation of cancer cell lines as well as induced apoptosis.

Our findings showed that pure (-)-Δ9trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) did not produce the same effects on these cell lines as the whole Cannabis extracts. Furthermore, Cannabis extracts with similar amounts of Δ9-THC produced significantly different effects on the survival of specific cancer cells.

In addition, we demonstrated that specific Cannabis extracts may selectively and differentially affect cancer cells and differing cancer cell lines from the same organ origin. We also found that cannabimimetic receptors were differentially expressed among various cancer cell lines and suggest that this receptor diversity may contribute to the heterogeneous effects produced by the differing Cannabis extracts on each cell line.

Our overall findings indicate that the effect of a Cannabis extract on a specific cancer cell line relies on the extract’s composition as well as on certain characteristics of the targeted cells.”

http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path[]=26983

“Many previous reports highlight and demonstrate the anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids. In the last decade, accumulating evidence has indicated that phytocannabinoids might have antitumor properties. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the effects of phytocannabinoids on tumor progression by interrupting several characteristic features of cancer. These studies suggest that specific cannabinoids such as Δ9-THC and CBD induce apoptosis and inhibit proliferation in various cancer cell lines.”

http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=26983&path%5B%5D=85698

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Antitumor Cannabinoid Chemotypes: Structural Insights.

Image result for frontiers in pharmacology“Cannabis has long been known to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, and pain. For this reason, cannabinoids have been successfully used in the treatment of some of the unwanted side effects caused by cancer chemotherapy.

Besides their palliative effects, research from the past two decades has demonstrated their promising potential as antitumor agents in a wide variety of tumors.

Cannabinoids of endogenous, phytogenic, and synthetic nature have been shown to impact the proliferation of cancer through the modulation of different proteins involved in the endocannabinoid system such as the G protein-coupled receptors CB1, CB2, and GRP55, the ionotropic receptor TRPV1, or the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).

In this article, we aim to structurally classify the antitumor cannabinoid chemotypes described so far according to their targets and types of cancer. In a drug discovery approach, their in silico pharmacokinetic profile has been evaluated in order to identify appropriate drug-like profiles, which should be taken into account for further progress toward the clinic.

This analysis may provide structural insights into the selection of specific cannabinoid scaffolds for the development of antitumor drugs for the treatment of particular types of cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31214034

“The first report on the antitumor activity of phytocannabinoids was published over four decades ago. During these last years, significant research has been focused on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids to manage palliative effects in cancer patients. Besides such palliative applications, some cannabinoids have shown anticancer properties. Since inflammation is a common risk factor for cancer, and some cannabinoids have shown anti-inflammatory properties, they could play a role in chemoprevention.” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.00621/full
“Antitumor effects of THC.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11097557
“Antitumor effects of cannabidiol” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14617682
“Anti-tumour actions of cannabinoids.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019449
“Extensive preclinical research has demonstrated that cannabinoids, the active ingredients of Cannabis sativa, trigger antitumor responses in different models of cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940172
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Should Oncologists Recommend Cannabis?

“Cannabis is a useful botanical with a wide range of therapeutic potential. Global prohibition over the past century has impeded the ability to study the plant as medicine. However, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been developed as a stand-alone pharmaceutical initially approved for the treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in 1986. The indication was expanded in 1992 to include treatment of anorexia in patients with the AIDS wasting syndrome. Hence, if the dominant cannabinoid is available as a schedule III prescription medication, it would seem logical that the parent botanical would likely have similar therapeutic benefits. The system of cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) has likely developed to help us modulate our response to noxious stimuli. Phytocannabinoids also complex with these receptors, and the analgesic effects of cannabis are perhaps the best supported by clinical evidence. Cannabis and its constituents have also been reported to be useful in assisting with sleep, mood, and anxiety. Despite significant in vitro and animal model evidence supporting the anti-cancer activity of individual cannabinoids-particularly THC and cannabidiol (CBD)-clinical evidence is absent. A single intervention that can assist with nausea, appetite, pain, mood, and sleep is certainly a valuable addition to the palliative care armamentarium. Although many healthcare providers advise against the inhalation of a botanical as a twenty-first century drug-delivery system, evidence for serious harmful effects of cannabis inhalation is scant and a variety of other methods of ingestion are currently available from dispensaries in locales where patients have access to medicinal cannabis. Oncologists and palliative care providers should recommend this botanical remedy to their patients to gain first-hand evidence of its therapeutic potential despite the paucity of results from randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials to appreciate that it is both safe and effective and really does not require a package insert.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31161270

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11864-019-0659-9

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Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System as a Potential Anticancer Strategy.

 Image result for frontiers in pharmacology“Currently, the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in cancer development and possible options for a cancer-regressive effect of cannabinoids are controversially discussed. In recent decades, a number of preclinical studies have shown that cannabinoids have an anticarcinogenic potential. Therefore, especially against the background of several legal simplifications with regard to the clinical application of cannabinoid-based drugs, an extended basic knowledge about the complex network of the individual components of the endocannabinoid system is required. The canonical endocannabinoid system consists of the endocannabinoids N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol as well as the Gi/o protein-coupled transmembrane cannabinoidreceptors CB1 and CB2. As a result of extensive studies on the broader effect of these factors, other fatty acid derivatives, transmembrane and intracellular receptors, enzymes and lipid transporters have been identified that contribute to the effect of endocannabinoids when defined in the broad sense as “extended endocannabinoid system.” Among these additional components, the endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase, lipid transport proteins of the fatty acid-binding protein family, additional cannabinoid-activated G protein-coupled receptors such as GPR55, members of the transient receptor family, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors were identified as targets for possible strategies to combat cancer progression. Other endocannabinoid-related fatty acids such as 2-arachidonoyl glyceryl ether, O-arachidonoylethanolamine, N-arachidonoyldopamine and oleic acid amide showed an effect via cannabinoid receptors, while other compounds such as endocannabinoid-like substances exert a permissive action on endocannabinoid effects and act via alternative intracellular target structures. This review gives an overview of the modulation of the extended endocannabinoid system using the example of anticancer cannabinoid effects, which have been described in detail in preclinical studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31143113

“In addition to the palliative effects of cannabinoid compounds in cancer treatment, the endocannabinoid system provides several targets for systemic anticancer treatment. Accordingly, preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids inhibit cancer progression via inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, neovascularization, invasion and chemoresistance, as well as induction of apoptosis, autophagy and increase of tumor immune surveillance.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.00430/full

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Future Aspects for Cannabinoids in Breast Cancer Therapy.

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“Cannabinoids (CBs) from Cannabis sativa provide relief for tumor-associated symptoms (including nausea, anorexia, and neuropathic pain) in the palliative treatment of cancer patients.

Additionally, they may decelerate tumor progression in breast cancer patients.

Indeed, the psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and other CBs inhibited disease progression in breast cancer models.

The effects of CBs on signaling pathways in cancer cells are conferred via G-protein coupled CB-receptors (CB-Rs), CB1-R and CB2-R, but also via other receptors, and in a receptor-independent way.

THC is a partial agonist for CB1-R and CB2-R; CBD is an inverse agonist for both.

In breast cancer, CB1-R expression is moderate, but CB2-R expression is high, which is related to tumor aggressiveness. CBs block cell cycle progression and cell growth and induce cancer cell apoptosis by inhibiting constitutive active pro-oncogenic signaling pathways, such as the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase pathway.

They reduce angiogenesis and tumor metastasis in animal breast cancer models. CBs are not only active against estrogen receptor-positive, but also against estrogen-resistant breast cancer cells. In human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer cells, blocking protein kinase B- and cyclooxygenase-2 signaling via CB2-R prevents tumor progression and metastasis.

Furthermore, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), including tamoxifen, bind to CB-Rs; this process may contribute to the growth inhibitory effect of SERMs in cancer cells lacking the estrogen receptor.

In summary, CBs are already administered to breast cancer patients at advanced stages of the disease, but they might also be effective at earlier stages to decelerate tumor progression.”

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The onus of cannabinoids in interrupting the molecular odyssey of breast cancer: A critical perspective on UPRER and beyond.

Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal

“Cannabinoids, commonly used for medicinal and recreational purposes, consist of various complex hydrophobic molecules obtained from Cannabis sativa L. Acting as an inhibitory molecule; they have been investigated for their antineoplastic effect in various breast tumor models. Lately, it was found that cannabinoid treatment not only stimulates autophagy-mediated apoptotic death of tumor cells through unfolded protein response (UPRER) activated downstream effectors, but also imposes cell cycle arrest. The exploitation of UPRER tumors as such is believed to be a major molecular event and is therefore employed in understanding the development and progression of breast tumor. Simultaneously, the data on clinical trials following administration of cannabinoid is currently being explored to find its role not only in palliation but also in the treatment of breast cancer. The present study summarizes new achievements in understanding the extent of therapeutic progress and highlights recent developments in cannabinoid biology towards achieving a better cure of breast cancer through the exploitation of different cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30976189

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016419300064?via%3Dihub

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Characterization of Cancer-Induced Nociception in a Murine Model of Breast Carcinoma.

“Severe and poorly treated pain often accompanies breast cancer. Thus, novel mechanisms involved in breast cancer-induced pain should be investigated. Then, it is necessary to characterize animal models that are reliable with the symptoms and progression of the disease as observed in humans. Explaining cancer-induced nociception in a murine model of breast carcinoma was the aim of this study. 4T1 (104) lineage cells were inoculated in the right fourth mammary fat pad of female BALB/c mice; after this, mechanical and cold allodynia, or mouse grimace scale (MGS) were observed for 30 days. To determine the presence of bone metastasis, we performed the metastatic clonogenic test and measure calcium serum levels. At 20 days after tumor induction, the antinociceptive effect of analgesics used to relieve pain in cancer patients (acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine or morphine) or a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212-2) was tested. Mice inoculated with 4T1 cells developed mechanical and cold allodynia and increased MGS. Bone metastasis was confirmed using the clonogenic assay, and hypercalcemia was observed 20 days after cells inoculation. All analgesic drugs reduced the mechanical and cold allodynia, while the MGS was decreased only by the administration of naproxen, codeine, or morphine. Also, WIN 55,212-2 improved all nociceptive measures. This pain model could be a reliable form to observe the mechanisms of breast cancer-induced pain or to observe the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30850915

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10571-019-00666-8

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Therapeutic targeting of HER2-CB2R heteromers in HER2-positive breast cancer.

 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 116 (6)

“Although human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapies have dramatically improved the clinical outcome of HER2-positive breast cancer patients, innate and acquired resistance remains an important clinical challenge. New therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools for identification, stratification, and treatment of patients at higher risk of resistance and recurrence are therefore warranted.

Here, we unveil a mechanism controlling the oncogenic activity of HER2: heteromerization with the cannabinoid receptor CB2R. We show that HER2 physically interacts with CB2R in breast cancer cells, and that the expression of these heteromers correlates with poor patient prognosis.

The cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) disrupts HER2-CB2R complexes by selectively binding to CB2R, which leads to (i) the inactivation of HER2 through disruption of HER2-HER2 homodimers, and (ii) the subsequent degradation of HER2 by the proteasome via the E3 ligase c-CBL. This in turn triggers antitumor responses in vitro and in vivo. Selective targeting of CB2R transmembrane region 5 mimicked THC effects.

Together, these findings define HER2-CB2R heteromers as new potential targets for antitumor therapies and biomarkers with prognostic value in HER2-positive breast cancer.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30733293

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/02/06/1815034116

“Pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors elicits antitumoral responses in different cancer models. Our findings reveal an unprecedented role of CB2 as a pivotal regulator of HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling in breast cancer” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25855725
“Extensive preclinical research has demonstrated that cannabinoids, the active ingredients of Cannabis sativa, trigger antitumor responses in different models of cancer. Together, our results suggest that standardized cannabis drug preparations, rather than pure cannabinoids, could be considered as part of the therapeutic armamentarium to manage breast cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940172
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Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer.

 Related image“In the last decades, a lot of attention has been paid to the compounds present in medicinal Cannabis sativa L., such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and their effects on inflammation and cancer-related pain.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) currently recognizes medicinal C. sativa as an effective treatment for providing relief in a number of symptoms associated with cancer, including pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and anxiety.

Several studies have described CBD as a multitarget molecule, acting as an adaptogen, and as a modulator, in different ways, depending on the type and location of disequilibrium both in the brain and in the body, mainly interacting with specific receptor proteins CB1 and CB2.

CBD is present in both medicinal and fibre-type C. sativa plants, but, unlike Δ9-THC, it is completely nonpsychoactive. Fibre-type C. sativa (hemp) differs from medicinal C. sativa, since it contains only few levels of Δ9-THC and high levels of CBD and related nonpsychoactive compounds.

In recent years, a number of preclinical researches have been focused on the role of CBD as an anticancer molecule, suggesting CBD (and CBD-like molecules present in the hemp extract) as a possible candidate for future clinical trials.

CBD has been found to possess antioxidant activity in many studies, thus suggesting a possible role in the prevention of both neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. In animal models, CBD has been shown to inhibit the progression of several cancer types. Moreover, it has been found that coadministration of CBD and Δ9-THC, followed by radiation therapy, causes an increase of autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells. In addition, CBD is able to inhibit cell proliferation and to increase apoptosis in different types of cancer models.

These activities seem to involve also alternative pathways, such as the interactions with TRPV and GRP55 receptor complexes. Moreover, the finding that the acidic precursor of CBD (cannabidiolic acid, CBDA) is able to inhibit the migration of breast cancer cells and to downregulate the proto-oncogene c-fos and the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) highlights the possibility that CBDA might act on a common pathway of inflammation and cancer mechanisms, which might be responsible for its anticancer activity.

In the light of all these findings, in this review we explore the effects and the molecular mechanisms of CBD on inflammation and cancer processes, highlighting also the role of minor cannabinoids and noncannabinoids constituents of Δ9-THC deprived hemp.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30627539

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/1691428/

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Cannabidiolic Acid-Mediated Interference with AP-1 Transcriptional Activity in MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cells.

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“We reported that cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), a non-psychotropic constituent of fiber-type cannabis plants, down-regulates the mRNA expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in highly aggressive MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. However, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the CBDA suppression of COX-2 have not yet been elucidated in detail. In MDA-MB-231 cells, COX-2 expression is known to be tightly regulated by the transcriptional activity of activator protein-I (AP-1), which is composed of a heterodimer of c-Fos and c-Jun. AP-1-mediated transcriptional activity was inhibited by CBDA in a dose-dependent manner. The expression of c-fos was maintained at markedly lower levels (0.035) than basal c-jun expression levels (1.0), implicating c- fos as a limiting factor in the regulation of COX-2. Analyses indicated that CBDA abrogated the expression of c-fos mRNA without affecting c-jun. Collectively, these results suggest that CBDA abolishes the expression of COX-2 by interfering with AP-I activity in MDA-MB3-231 cells.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30496661

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