Cannabidiol reverts the malignant phenotype of hepatocellular carcinoma cells via the GPR55/TP53/MAPK axis

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“Cannabidiol (CBD) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. However, the anti-tumor effect of CBD on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear. Here, we investigated whether CBD displays anti-tumorigenic effects in HCC cells and whether it could reduce tumorigenesis and metastases in vivo.

First, this study treated HCC cells with different concentrations of CBD, followed by analyzing the changes in the proliferative, apoptotic, migratory and invasive abilities. The effects of CBD on the growth and metastasis of HCC cells in vivo were verified by tumorigenesis and metastasis assays. Subsequently, the target genes of CBD were predicted through the SwissTarget website and the genes differentially expressed in cells after CBD treatment were analyzed by microarray for intersection. The enrichment of the pathways after CBD treatment was analyzed by KEGG enrichment analysis, followed by western blot validation. Finally, rescue assays were used to validate the functions of genes as well as pathways in the growth and metastasis of HCC cells.

A significant weakening of the ability of HCC cells to grow and metastasize in vitro and in vivo was observed upon CBD treatment. Mechanistically, CBD reduced GRP55 expression in HCC cells, along with increased TP53 expression and blocked MAPK signaling activation. In CBD-treated cells, the anti-tumor of HCC cells was restored after overexpression of GRP55 or deletion of TP53. CBD inhibits the MAPK signaling activation and increases the TP53 expression by downregulating GRP55 in HCC cells, thereby suppressing the growth and metastasis of HCC cells.”

“CBD treatment inhibits the growth and metastasis of HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. CBD can be used as a clinical treatment for HCC.”

Cannabidiol and Aza-BODIPY Coencapsulation for Photodynamic Therapy Enhancement in Liver Cancer Cells

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“Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been explored for their potential in synergistic cancer treatment. In this study, we employed CBD oil as a lipid phase, encapsulated within AZB-I@Lec-T to create lipid-based nanoparticles. Here, CBD oil does two tasks: it acts as a pyroptosis agent to destroy liver cancer cells and as a lipid phase to dissolve the photosensitizer. It was expected that this system would offer synergistic therapy between CBD and PDT better than a single use of each treatment. With a series of in vitro experiments, the nanoparticles exhibited induced apoptosis in 68% of HepG2 cells treated with AZB-I@Lec-T@CBD and near-infrared (NIR)-light irradiation, reducing expression levels of antioxidant defense system genes. Furthermore, both components worked well in a submicromolar range when combined in our formulation. These results highlight the potential for amplifying primary cellular damage with the combination of PDT and CBD encapsulation, providing a promising therapeutic approach for liver cancer treatment guidelines.”

“CBD is one of the prospective therapeutic options in oncology that has been shown to reduce angiogenesis, cancer cell motility, adhesion, and invasion, as well as limit secondary metastatic cancer spread.”

“This study successfully demonstrated the potent cytotoxic synergy between photodynamic therapy (PDT) and cannabidiol (CBD) in cancer cells.

These findings underscore the potential for augmenting primary cellular damage using PDT and CBD coencapsulation, offering a promising avenue for future therapeutic strategies in cancer treatment protocols.”

Cannabidiol alleviates carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis in mice by regulating NF-κB and PPAR-α pathways

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“Liver fibrosis has become a serious public health problem that can develop into liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and even lead to death.

Cannabidiol (CBD), which is an abundant nonpsychoactive component in the cannabis plant, exerts cytoprotective effects in many diseases and under pathological conditions.

In our previous studies, CBD significantly attenuated liver injury induced by chronic and binge alcohol in a mouse model and oxidative bursts in human neutrophils. However, the effects of CBD on liver fibrosis and the underlying mechanisms still need to be further explored. A mouse liver fibrosis model was induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) for 10 weeks and used to explore the protective properties of CBD and related molecular mechanisms. After the injection protocol, serum samples and livers were used for molecular biology, biochemical and pathological analyses.

The results showed that CBD could effectively improve liver function and reduce liver damage and liver fibrosis progression in mice; the expression levels of transaminase and fibrotic markers were reduced, and histopathological characteristics were improved. Moreover, CBD inhibited the levels of inflammatory cytokines and reduced the protein expression levels of p-NF-κB, NF-κB, p-IκBα, p-p38 MAPK, and COX-2 but increased the expression level of PPAR-α. We found that CBD-mediated protection involves inhibiting NF-κB and activating PPAR-α.

In conclusion, these results suggest that the hepatoprotective effects of CBD may be due to suppressing the inflammatory response in CCl4-induced mice and that the NF-κB and PPAR-α signaling pathways might be involved in this process.”

“In summary, we have shown that intraperitoneal injection of CBD exerts potent anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic activities in vivo. Moreover, we found that the first time CBD efficacy in reducing CCl4-induced hepatic fibrosis by multiple mechanisms. These mechanisms may involve inhibition of NF-κB, activation of the PPAR-α pathway, and inhibition of oxidative stress. Based on these findings, CBD has the potential to be further developed as a treatment for hepatic fibrosis, especially as a combination therapy with the currently available therapies.”

Effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) on histopathological changes and gene expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model in male rats: the role of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway

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“The third most prevalent malignancy to cause mortality is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway is activated by binding to the transmembrane receptor Patched-1 (PTCH-1), which depresses the transmembrane G protein-coupled receptor Smoothened (SMO).

This study was performed to examine the preventative and therapeutic effects of cannabidiol in adult rats exposed to diethyl nitrosamine (DENA)-induced HCC.

A total of 50 male rats were divided into five groups of 10 rats each. Group I was the control group. Group II received intraperitoneal (IP) injections of DENA for 14 weeks. Group III included rats that received cannabidiol (CBD) orally (3-30 mg/kg) for 2 weeks and DENA injections for 14 weeks. Group IV rats received oral CBD for 2 weeks before 14 weeks of DENA injections. Group V included rats that received CBD orally for 2 weeks after their last injection of DENA. Measurements were made for alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), malondialdehyde (MDA), and alpha fetoprotein (AFP). Following total RNA extraction, Smo, Hhip, Ptch-1, and Gli-1 expressions were measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). A histopathological analysis of liver tissues was performed.

The liver enzymes, oxidant-antioxidant state, morphological, and molecular parameters of the adult male rat model of DENA-induced HCC showed a beneficial improvement after CBD administration.

In conclusion, by focusing on the Hh signaling system, administration of CBD showed a beneficial improvement in the liver enzymes, oxidant-antioxidant status, morphological, and molecular parameters in the DENA-induced HCC in adult male rats.”

Cannabinol inhibits cell growth and triggers cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cells

Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology

“Cancer is one of the most difficult diseases to treat and cure.”

“Cannabinol (CBN), one of the active ingredients from the cannabis plant, is the breakdown molecule of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) which is the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid.”

“Cannabinol (CBN) is a weak-psychoactive cannabinoid and has been shown to exert several bio-logical activities. At the same time, not much is known about the anti-cancer activities of CBN. In this report, we characterized the anti-tumor effects of CBN on the glioma A172, liver cancer HepG2 and breast cancer HCC1806 cell lines.

We found that CBN reduces the proliferation of the analyzed cancer cells and modulates the level of cannabinoid receptors, including GPR18, CB2 and GPR55. Furthermore, CBN inhibits the ERK1/2 pathway in A172 and HepG2 cells, while suppressing the AKT pathway in HCC1086 cells. Moreover, CBN may cause apoptosis through downregulation of p21 and p27 as well as a cell cycle arrest at G1 or S-phase via decreasing the CDK1, CDK2, and cyclin E1 levels.

Taken together, these results offer new insights into the anti-cancer properties of CBN.”

“CBN, one of the weak-psychoactive cannabinoids, have demonstrated various medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic and even anti-tumor.”

“In this study, we revealed the antitumor activity of CBN in three different tumor cell lines, glioma A172, liver cancer HepG2 and breast cancer HCC1806 cell lines. We report that cannabinol inhibits proliferation of several cancer cell lines by regulation of the signaling pathways involving ERK and AKT as well as by altering the expression of cannabinoid receptors. Moreover, we also found that CBN induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest and partially uncovered underlying molecular mechanisms. Our findings provide novel information about the anti-cancer properties of CBN and justify further research to investigate the role of CBN as cancer therapeutic.”

Cannabidiol Enhances Cabozantinib-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death via Phosphorylation of p53 Regulated by ER Stress in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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“Cannabidiol (CBD), a primary constituent in hemp and cannabis, exerts broad pharmacological effects against various diseases, including cancer. Additionally, cabozantinib, a potent multi-kinase inhibitor, has been approved for treating patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Recently, there has been an increase in research on combination therapy using cabozantinib to improve efficacy and safety when treating patients. Here, we investigated the effect of a combination treatment of cabozantinib and CBD on HCC cells. CBD treatment enhanced the sensitivity of HCC cells to cabozantinib-mediated anti-cancer activity by increasing cytotoxicity and apoptosis. Phospho-kinase array analysis demonstrated that the apoptotic effect of the combination treatment was mainly related to p53 phosphorylation regulated by endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress when compared to other kinases. The inhibition of p53 expression and ER stress suppressed the apoptotic effect of the combination treatment, revealing no changes in the expression of Bax, Bcl-2, cleaved caspase-3, cleaved caspase-8, or cleaved caspase-9. Notably, the effect of the combination treatment was not associated with cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) and the CNR2 signaling pathways. Our findings suggest that the combination therapy of cabozantinib and CBD provides therapeutic efficacy against HCC.”

Cannabis sativa demonstrates anti-hepatocellular carcinoma potentials in animal model: in silico and in vivo studies of the involvement of Akt

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“Background: Targeting protein kinase B (Akt) and its downstream signaling proteins are promising options in designing novel and potent drug candidates against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present study explores the anti-HCC potentials of Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) extract via the involvement of Akt using both in silico and in vivo animal models of HCC approaches.

Methods: Phytoconstituents of C. sativa extract obtained from Gas Chromatography Mass-spectrometry (GCSM) were docked into the catalytic domain of Akt-2. The Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) model of HCC was treated with C. sativa extract. The effects of C. sativa extract treatments on DEN model of hepatocellular carcinoma were assessed by One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the treated and untreated groups RESULT: The lead phytoconstituents of C. sativa extract, Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) and cannabidiol form stable hydrophobic and hydrogen bond interactions within the catalytic domain of Akt-2. C. sativa extract (15 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg) respectively gives a 3-fold decrease in the activities of liver function enzymes when compared with the positive control (group 2). It also gives a 1.5-fold decrease in hepatic lipid peroxidation and elevates serum antioxidant enzymes’ activities by 1-fold in HCC treated Wistar rats when compared with the positive control (group 2). In an animal model of hepatocellular carcinoma, C. sativa extract significantly downregulated Akt and HIF mRNAs in groups 3, 4, and 5 with 2, 1.5, 2.5-fold decrease relative to group 2. VEGF mRNA was downregulated by 1.5-fold decrease in groups 3-5 when compared to group 2. The expression of XIAP mRNA was downregulated by 1.5, 2, and 1.25-folds in groups 3, 4, and 5 respectively, in comparison with group 2. In comparison to group 2, COX-2 mRNA levels were downregulated by 1.5, 1, and 1-folds in groups 3-5. In groups 3-5, CRP mRNA was downregulated by 2-fold in comparison with group 2. In groups 3-5, p21 mRNA was upregulated by 2, 2.5, and 3-folds, respectively when compared with group 2. It upregulated p53 mRNA by 2.5, 3.5, and 2.5-folds in groups 3-5 in comparison with group 2. It downregulated AFP mRNA by 3.5, 2.5, .2.5-folds in groups 3, 4, and 5 respectively when compared with group 2. Histologic analysis showed that C. sativa extract reduced necrosis and inflammation in HCC.

Conclusion: C. sativa demonstrates anti-hepatocellular carcinoma potentials in an animal model of HCC and with the involvement of Akt. Its anticancer potential is mediated through antiangiogenic, proapoptotic, cycle arrest, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. In future studies, the mechanisms of anti-HCC effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9- THC) and cannabidiol via the PI3K-Akt signaling pathways should be explored.”

“We established that C. sativa demonstrates anti-hepatocellular carcinoma potentials in an animal model of HCC and with the involvement of Akt. THC and cannabidiol form stable hydrophobic and hydrogen bond interactions within the catalytic domain of Akt-2. C. sativa extract reduced the activities of liver function enzymes. It ameliorates lipid peroxidation and increases the antioxidant enzymes’ activities. It shows anti-angiogenic, proapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory effects. It also demonstrates cell cycle arrest. C. sativa extract further demonstrates its anti-HCC effects by moderating necrosis and reduce inflammation in HCC. In future studies, the mechanisms of anti-HCC effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9- THC) and cannabidiol via the PI3K-Akt signaling pathways should be explored. Although preclinical trials have demonstrated the clinical efficacy of C. sativa, clinical trials with cancer patients are lacking. It is imperative to review the results of prospective and randomized studies on the use of C. sativa in cancer treatment before drawing any conclusions.”

Therapeutic targeting of the tumor microenvironments with cannabinoids and their analogs: Update on clinical trials

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“Cancer is a major global public health concern that affects both industrialized and developing nations. Current cancer chemotherapeutic options are limited by side effects, but plant-derived alternatives and their derivatives offer the possibilities of enhanced treatment response and reduced side effects.

A plethora of recently published articles have focused on treatments based on cannabinoids and cannabinoid analogs and reported that they positively affect healthy cell growth and reverse cancer-related abnormalities by targeting aberrant tumor microenvironments (TMEs), lowering tumorigenesis, preventing metastasis, and/or boosting the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Furthermore, TME modulating systems are receiving much interest in the cancer immunotherapy field because it has been shown that TMEs have significant impacts on tumor progression, angiogenesis, invasion, migration, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, metastasis and development of drug resistance.

Here, we have reviewed the effective role of cannabinoids, their analogs and cannabinoid nano formulations on the cellular components of TME (endothelial cells, pericytes, fibroblast and immune cells) and how efficiently it retards the progression of carcinogenesis is discussed. The article summarizes the existing research on the molecular mechanisms of cannabinoids regulation of the TME and finally highlights the human studies on cannabinoids’ active interventional clinical trials.

The conclusion outlines the need for future research involving clinical trials of cannabinoids to demonstrate their efficacy and activity as a treatment/prevention for various types of human malignancies.”

The endocannabinoid system, a new gatekeeper in the pharmacology of human hepatocellular carcinoma

Environmental Research

“Despite numerous prevention methodologies and treatment options, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) still remains as the third leading life-threatening cancer. It is thus pertinent to develop new treatment modality to fight this devastating carcinoma.

Ample recent studies have shown the anti-inflammatory and antitumor roles of the endocannabinoid system in various forms of cancers. Preclinical studies have also confirmed that cannabinoid therapy can be an optimal regimen for cancer treatments.

The endocannabinoid system is involved in many cancer-related processes, including induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-dependent apoptosis, autophagy, PITRK and ERK signaling pathways, cell invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and cancer stem cell (CSC) phenotypes. Moreover, changes in signaling transduction of the endocannabinoid system can be a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for HCC.

Due to its pivotal role in lipid metabolism, the endocannabinoid system affects metabolic reprogramming as well as lipid content of exosomes. In addition, due to the importance of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), several studies have examined the relationship between microRNAs and the endocannabinoid system in HCC. However, HCC is a pathological condition with high heterogeneity, and therefore using the endocannabinoid system for treatment has faced many controversies. While some studies favored a role of the endocannabinoid system in carcinogenesis and tumor induction, others exhibited the anticancer potential of endocannabinoids in HCC.

In this review, specific studies delineating the relationship between endocannabinoids and HCC are examined. Based on collected findings, detailed studies of the molecular mechanism of endocannabinoids as well as preclinical studies for investigating therapeutic or carcinogenic impacts in HCC cancer are strongly suggested.”

Extracellular vesicles of cannabis with high CBD content induce anticancer signaling in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy

“Plant-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been the topic of interest in recent years due to their proven therapeutic properties. Intact or manipulated plant EVs have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous activities as a result of containing bioactive metabolites and other endogenous molecules. Less is known about the EV efficacy with high levels of bioactive secondary metabolites derived from medicinal or non-edible plants.

Numerous data suggest the functionality of Cannabis sativa extract and its phytocannabinoids in cancer treatment. Here, two chemotypes of cannabis with different levels of D-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) were selected. EVs were isolated from each chemotype via differential ultracentrifugation. HPLC analysis was illustrative of the absence of THC in EVs derived from both plants. Therefore, two types of EVs were classified according to their CBD content into high- (H.C-EVs) and low-CBD EVs (L.C-EVs). Electron microscopy and DLS showed both cannabis-derived EVs (CDEVs) can be considered as exosome-like nanovesicles. Cytotoxicity assay showed that H.C-EVs strongly decreased the viability of two hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines, HepG2 and Huh-7, in a dose and time-dependent manner compared with L.C-EVs. H.C-EVs had no significant effect on HUVECs normal cell growth. The finding showed that the H.C-EVs arrested the G0/G1 phase in the cell cycle and significantly induced cell death by activating mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis signaling pathways in both HCC cell lines.

Altogether, the current study highlights that CDEVs can be an ideal natural vehicle for bioactive phytocannabinoids and a promising strategy in cancer management.”

“Altogether, our findings suggest that the EVs derived from cannabis can act as natural nano-carriers containing bioactive phytochemicals and be used in cancer research. The possible use of these biomaterials in combination with chemotherapy drugs can open a new gateway for cancer treatment.”

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