Anti-proliferative and apoptotic effect of cannabinoids on human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma xenograft in BALB/c nude mice model

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“Human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly malignant and lethal tumor of the exocrine pancreas.

Cannabinoids extracted from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa have been suggested as a potential therapeutic agent in several human tumors. However, the anti-tumor effect of cannabinoids on human PDAC is not entirely clarified. In this study, the anti-proliferative and apoptotic effect of cannabinoid solution (THC:CBD at 1:6) at a dose of 1, 5, and 10 mg/kg body weight compared to the negative control (sesame oil) and positive control (5-fluorouracil) was investigated in human PDAC xenograft nude mice model.

The findings showed that cannabinoids significantly decreased the mitotic cells and mitotic/apoptotic ratio, meanwhile dramatically increased the apoptotic cells. Parallelly, cannabinoids significantly downregulated Ki-67 and PCNA expression levels. Interestingly, cannabinoids upregulated BAX, BAX/BCL-2 ratio, and Caspase-3, meanwhile, downregulated BCL-2 expression level and could not change Caspase-8 expression level.

These findings suggest that cannabinoid solution (THC:CBD at 1:6) could inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in human PDAC xenograft models. Cannabinoids, including THC:CBD, should be further studied for use as the potent PDCA therapeutic agent in humans.”

“Herbal medicinal plants and their derivatives have been discovered and used as potential sources for the treatment of human cancers for decades. Of these, cannabinoids extracted from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa have been remarkably noted as a potential therapy for the treatment of several human tumors.”

“In summary, this study revealed that cannabinoids (THC:CBD) (1:6) could inhibit the proliferation and induce apoptosis in human PDAC xenograft nude mice models.”

Cannabigerol Induces Autophagic Cell Death by Inhibiting EGFR-RAS Pathways in Human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cell Lines

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“Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most frequent infiltrating type of pancreatic cancer. The poor prognosis associated with this cancer is due to the absence of specific biomarkers, aggressiveness, and treatment resistance. PDAC is a deadly malignancy bearing distinct genetic alterations, the most common being those that result in cancer-causing versions of the KRAS gene.

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychomimetic cannabinoid with anti-inflammatory properties.

Regarding the anticancer effect of CBG, up to now, there is only limited evidence in human cancers. To fill this gap, we investigated the effects of CBG on the PDAC cell lines, PANC-1 and MIAPaCa-2. The effect of CBG activity on cell viability, cell death, and EGFR-RAS-associated signaling was investigated. Moreover, the potential synergistic effect of CBG in combination with gemcitabine (GEM) and paclitaxel (PTX) was investigated. MTT was applied to investigate the effect of CBG on PDAC cell line viabilities. Annexin-V and Acridine orange staining, followed by cytofluorimetric analysis and Western blotting, were used to evaluate CBG’s effect on cell death. The modulation of EGFR-RAS-associated pathways was determined by Western blot analysis and a Milliplex multiplex assay. Moreover, by employing the MTT data and SynergyFinder Plus software analysis, the effect of the combination of CBG and chemotherapeutic drugs was determined.”

“In conclusion, our results showed that CBG, a non-psychomimetic cannabinoid from Cannabis Sativa L., can induce an anticancer effect in two human PDAC cell lines, supporting the ability of cannabinoids to interfere with several pro-tumoral pathways.”

Cannabinoids in Treating Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting, Cancer-Associated Pain, and Tumor Growth

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“Cannabis has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years, and recent research indicates promising new uses in medicine. So far, some studies have shown cannabinoids to be safe in helping mitigate some cancer-associated complications, including chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, cancer-associated pain, and tumor growth.

Researchers have been particularly interested in the potential uses of cannabinoids in treating cancer due to their ability to regulate cancer-related cell cycle pathways, prompting many beneficial effects, such as tumor growth prevention, cell cycle obstruction, and cell death.

Cannabinoids have been found to affect tumors of the brain, prostate, colon and rectum, breast, uterus, cervix, thyroid, skin, pancreas, and lymph. However, the full potential of cannabinoids is yet to be understood.

This review discusses current knowledge on the promising applications of cannabinoids in treating three different side effects of cancer-chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, cancer-associated pain, and tumor development.

The findings suggest that cannabinoids can be used to address some side effects of cancer and to limit the growth of tumors, though a lack of supporting clinical trials presents a challenge for use on actual patients. An additional challenge will be examining whether any of the over one hundred naturally occurring cannabinoids or dozens of synthetic compounds also exhibit useful clinical properties.

Currently, clinical trials are underway; however, no regulatory agencies have approved cannabinoid use for any cancer symptoms beyond antinausea.”

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.”

Anti-cancer effects of selective cannabinoid agonists in pancreatic and breast cancer cells

“Objective: Cancer ranks first among the causes of morbidity and mortality all over the world, and it is expected to continue to be the main cause of death in the coming years. Therefore, new molecular targets and therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. In many cases, some reports show increased levels of endocannabinoids and their receptors in cancer, a condition often associated with tumour aggressiveness. Recent studies have suggested that cannabinoid-1/2 receptors contribute to tumour growth in a variety of cancers, including pancreatic, colon, prostate, and breast cancer. Understanding how cannabinoids can regulate key cellular processes involved in tumorigenesis, such as: cell proliferation and cell death, is crucial to improving existing and new therapeutic approaches for the cancer patients. The present study was aimed to characterize the in-vitro effect of L-759633 (a selective CB2 receptor agonist), ACPA (a selective CB1 receptor agonist) and ACEA (a selective CB1 receptor agonist) on the cell proliferation, clonogenicity, and apoptosis in pancreatic (PANC1) and breast (MDA-MB-231) cancer cells.

Methods: The viability and/or proliferation of cells were detected by MTS assay. A clonogenic survival assay was used to detect the ability of a single cell to grow into a colony. Apoptosis was determined with Annexin V staining (Annexin V-FITC/PI test) and by analyzing the expression of Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2).

Results: We found that selective CB1/2 agonists suppressed cell proliferation, clonogenicity and induced proapoptotic function in human PANC1 pancreatic and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Based on our findings, these agonists led to the inhibition of both cell viability and clonogenic growth in a dose dependent manner. CB1/2 agonists were observed to induce intrinsic apoptotic pathway by upregulating Bax, while downregulating Bcl-2 expression levels.

Conclusion: Our data suggests that CB1/2 agonists have the therapeutic potential through the inhibition of survival of human PANC1 pancreatic and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and also might be linked with further cellular mechanisms for the prevention.”

“Analysis of Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of 25 High-THC Cannabis Extracts”

Antitumor Effects of Cannabinoids in Human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cell Line (Capan-2)-Derived Xenograft Mouse Model

“Background: Pancreatic cancer is considered a rare type of cancer, but the mortality rate is high. Cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant have been interested as an alternative treatment in cancer patients. Only a few studies are available on the antitumor effects of cannabinoids in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the antitumor effects of cannabinoids in pancreatic cancer xenografted mouse model.

Materials and methods: Twenty-five nude mice were subcutaneously transplanted with a human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cell line (Capan-2). All mice were randomly assigned into 5 groups including negative control (gavage with sesame oil), positive control (5 mg/kg 5-fluorouracil intraperitoneal administration), and cannabinoids groups that daily received THC:CBD, 1:6 at 1, 5, or 10 mg/kg body weight for 30 days, respectively. Xenograft tumors and internal organs were collected for histopathological examination and immunohistochemistry.

Results: The average tumor volume was increased in all groups with no significant difference. The average apoptotic cells and caspase-3 positive cells were significantly increased in cannabinoid groups compared with the negative control group. The expression score of proliferating cell nuclear antigen in positive control and cannabinoids groups was decreased compared with the negative control group.

Conclusions: Cannabinoids have an antitumor effect on the Capan-2-derived xenograft mouse model though induce apoptosis and inhibit proliferation of tumor cells in a dose-dependent manner.”

“In conclusion, cannabinoid treatment in mice was not affected by weight gain and blood profiles. It can induce apoptosis and inhibit the proliferation of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells in a dose-dependent manner. This study suggested that cannabinoids have an antitumor effect on a human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cell line (Capan-2)-derived xenograft mouse model.”

The Effectiveness and Safety of Medical Cannabis for Treating Cancer Related Symptoms in Oncology Patients

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“The use of medical cannabis (MC) to treat cancer-related symptoms is rising. However, there is a lack of long-term trials to assess the benefits and safety of MC treatment in this population. In this work, we followed up prospectively and longitudinally on the effectiveness and safety of MC treatment.

Oncology patients reported on multiple symptoms before and after MC treatment initiation at one-, three-, and 6-month follow-ups. Oncologists reported on the patients’ disease characteristics. Intention-to-treat models were used to assess changes in outcomes from baseline. MC treatment was initiated by 324 patients and 212, 158 and 126 reported at follow-ups.

Most outcome measures improved significantly during MC treatment for most patients (p < 0.005). Specifically, at 6 months, total cancer symptoms burden declined from baseline by a median of 18%, from 122 (82–157) at baseline to 89 (45–138) at endpoint (−18.98; 95%CI= −26.95 to −11.00; p < 0.001). Reported adverse effects were common but mostly non-serious and remained stable during MC treatment.

The results of this study suggest that MC treatment is generally safe for oncology patients and can potentially reduce the burden of associated symptoms with no serious MC-related adverse effects.

The main finding of the current study is that most cancer comorbid symptoms improved significantly during 6 months of MC treatment.

Additionally, we found that MC treatment in cancer patients was well tolerated and safe.”

“Cancer Pain Treatment Using Marijuana Safe and Effective, Large Study Finds”

The Endocannabinoid System as a Pharmacological Target for New Cancer Therapies

“Despite the long history of cannabinoid use for medicinal and ritual purposes, an endogenous system of cannabinoid-controlled receptors, as well as their ligands and the enzymes that synthesise and degrade them, was only discovered in the 1990s. Since then, the endocannabinoid system has attracted widespread scientific interest regarding new pharmacological targets in cancer treatment among other reasons.

Meanwhile, extensive preclinical studies have shown that cannabinoids have an inhibitory effect on tumour cell proliferation, tumour invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and induce tumour cell apoptosis and autophagy as well as immune response. Appropriate cannabinoid compounds could moreover be useful for cancer patients as potential combination partners with other chemotherapeutic agents to increase their efficacy while reducing unwanted side effects.

In addition to the direct activation of cannabinoid receptors through the exogenous application of corresponding agonists, another strategy is to activate these receptors by increasing the endocannabinoid levels at the corresponding pathological hotspots. Indeed, a number of studies accordingly showed an inhibitory effect of blockers of the endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) on tumour development and spread.

This review summarises the relevant preclinical studies with FAAH and MAGL inhibitors compared to studies with cannabinoids and provides an overview of the regulation of the endocannabinoid system in cancer.”

“Cannabinoids have been shown to suppress tumour cell proliferation, tumour invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and epithelial-mesenchymal transition and to induce tumour cell apoptosis, autophagy and immune response. This review focuses on the current status of investigations on the impact of inhibitors of endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes on tumour growth and spread in preclinical oncology research.”

A Low Dose of Pure Cannabidiol Is Sufficient to Stimulate the Cytotoxic Function of CIK Cells without Exerting the Downstream Mediators in Pancreatic Cancer Cells

“Despite numerous studies conducted over the past decade, the exact role of the cannabinoid system in cancer development remains unclear. Though research has focused on two cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2) activated by most cannabinoids, CB2 holds greater attention due to its expression in cells of the immune system. In particular, cytokine-induced killer cells (CIKs), which are pivotal cytotoxic immunological effector cells, express a high-level of CB2 receptors. Herein, we sought to investigate whether inducing CIK cells with cannabidiol can enhance their cytotoxicity and if there are any possible counter effects in its downstream cascade of phosphorylated p38 and CREB using a pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cell line (PANC-1). Our results showed that IL-2 modulates primarily the expression of the CB2 receptor on CIK cells used during ex vivo CIK expansion. The autophagosomal-associated scaffold protein p62 was found to co-localize with CB2 receptors in CIK cells and the PANC-1 cell line. CIK cells showed a low level of intracellular phospho-p38 and, when stimulated with cannabidiol (CBD), a donor specific variability in phospho-CREB. CBD significantly decreases the viability of PANC-1 cells presumably by increasing the cytotoxicity of CIK cells. Taken together, in our preclinical in vitro study, we propose that a low effective dose of CBD is sufficient to stimulate the cytotoxic function of CIK without exerting any associated mediator. Thus, the combinatorial approach of non-psychoactive CBD and CIK cells appears to be safe and can be considered for a clinical perspective in pancreatic cancer.”

Plant-derived cannabinoids as anticancer agents

“Substantial preclinical evidence demonstrates the antiproliferative, cytotoxic, and antimetastatic properties of plant-derived cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) such as cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. The cumulative body of research into the intracellular mechanisms and phenotypic effects of these compounds supports a logical, judicious progression to large-scale phase II/III clinical trials in certain cancer types to truly assess the efficacy of phytocannabinoids as anticancer agents.”