“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.
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.
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.”
“The palliative effects of cannabis sativa (marijuana), which include appetite stimulation, attenuation of nausea and emesis, and pain relief, are well known.
The active components of cannabis sativa (cannabinoids) and their derivatives have received growing interest due to their diverse pharmacological activities, such as cell growth inhibition and tumour regression.
The aim of this review is to look at the current evidence on the antiproliferative effects of cannabinoids in urological malignancies, including renal, prostate, bladder, and testicular cancers.
The search yielded a total of 93 studies from Medline and PubMed, of which 23 studies were included in the final analysis. To date, there are various in vitro studies elucidating the potential mechanism of action of cannabinoids for urological cancers, along with population-based studies specifically for testicular malignancies. To date, no clinical trials have been conducted for urological cancer patients.
These results demonstrate that the role of endocannabinoids for urological malignancies is an area of active research. Further research is required not only to evaluate the crosstalk between cancer signaling pathways and cannabinoids, but also large randomized clinical studies with urological patients need to be conducted before cannabinoids can be introduced as potential therapeutic options for urological neoplasms.”
“Endocannabinoids are bioactive lipids that modulate various physiological processes through G-protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2) and other putative targets. By sharing the activation of the same receptors, some phytocannabinoids and a multitude of synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids.
In recent years, a growing interest has been dedicated to the study of cannabinoids properties for their analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. In addition to these well-recognized effects, various studies suggest that cannabinoids may affect cell survival, cell proliferation or cell death. These observations indicate that cannabinoids may play an important role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and, thus, may contribute to tissue remodelling and cancer treatment.
For a long time, the study of cannabinoid receptor signalling has been focused on the classical adenylyl cyclase/cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. However, this pathway does not totally explain the wide array of biological responses to cannabinoids. In addition, the diversity of receptors and signalling pathways that endocannabinoids modulate offers an interesting opportunity for the development of specific molecules to disturb selectively the endogenous system.
Moreover, emerging evidences suggest that cannabinoids ability to limit cell proliferation and to induce tumour-selective cell death may offer a novel strategy in cancer treatment.
This review describes the main properties of cannabinoids in cell death and attempts to clarify the different pathways triggered by these compounds that may help to understand the complexity of respective molecular mechanisms and explore the potential clinical benefit of cannabinoids use in cancer therapies.”
“The irritant properties of all smoke will naturally tend to promote a pro-inflammatory immune response with the corresponding production of potentially carcinogenic free radicals. However, cannabis promotes immune deviation to an anti-inflammatory Th2 response via immune-system specific CB2 receptors. Thus, the natural pharmacological properties of marijuana’s cannabinoids, that are not present in tobacco smoke, would minimize potential irritant initiated carcinogenesis. In contrast, the pharmacological activities of tobacco smoke would tend to amplify its carcinogenic potential by inhibiting the death of genetically damaged cells. Together these observations support the epidemiological study of the Kaiser Foundation that did not find cannabis smoking to be associated with cancer incidence. Additionally, the demonstrated cancer killing activities of cannabinoids has been ignored. Cannabinoids have been shown to kill some leukemia and lymphoma, breast and prostate, pheochromocytoma, glioma and skin cancer cells in cell culture and in animals.” http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/29/science-based-evaluation-cannabis-and-cancer
“The physiological and pathophysiological roles of sex hormones have been well documented and the modulation of their effects is applicable in many current treatments.
On the other hand, the physiological role of endocannabinoids is not yet clearly understood and the endocannabinoid system is considered a relatively new therapeutic target.
The physiological association between sex hormones and cannabinoids has been investigated in several studies; however, its involvement in the pathophysiology of common human diseases has been studied separately.
Herein, we present the first systematic review of molecular pathways that are influenced by both the cannabinoids and sex hormones, including adenylate cyclase and protein kinase A, epidermal growth factor receptor, cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein, vascular endothelial growth factor, proto-oncogene serine/threonine-protein kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase, C-Jun N-terminal kinase and extracellular-signal-regulated kinases 1/2.
Most of these influence cell proliferative activity.
Better insight into this association may prove to be beneficial for the development of novel pharmacological treatment strategies for many common diseases, including breast cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.
The associations between cannabinoids, estrogens and androgens under these conditions are also presented and the molecular interactions are highlighted.”
“The term “cannabinoids” designates a family of compounds with activity upon cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoids are classified in three groups: phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and the synthetic analogues of both groups.
They have become a promising tool in the treatment of cancer disease, not only as palliative agents, but also as antitumor drugs, due to their ability to inhibit the proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion, and angiogenesis of tumour cells.
Two of the cancers where they have shown high anticancer activity are breast and prostate tumours.
Cannabinoids, in particular the non-psychoactive CBD, may be promising tools in combination therapy for breast and prostate cancer, due to their direct antitumor effects, their ability to improve the efficacy of conventional antitumor drugs and their usefulness as palliative treatment.”
“Neuroendocrine (NE) differentiation represents a common feature of prostate cancer and is associated with accelerated disease progression and poor clinical outcome. Nowadays, there is no treatment for this aggressive form of prostate cancer.
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of the cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 (WIN, a non-selective cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist) on the NE differentiation of prostate cancer cells.
Taken together, we demonstrate that PI3K/Akt/AMPK might be an important axis modulating NE differentiation of prostate cancer that is blocked by the cannabinoid WIN, pointing to a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids against NE prostate cancer.”
“ACTIVE chemicals in cannabis have been shown to halt prostate cancer cell growth according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer*.
Researchers from the University of Alcala, in Madrid tested the effects of the active chemicals in cannabis called cannabinoids** on three human prostate cancer cell lines – called PC-3, DU-a45 and LNCaP.
The prostate cancer cells carry molecular ‘garages’- called receptors- in which cannabinoids can ‘park’.
The scientists showed for the first time that if cannabinoids ‘park’ on a receptor called CB2, the cancer cells stop multipyling.
“This research suggest that prostate cancer cells might stop growing if they are treated with chemicals found in cannabis but more work needs to be done to explore the potential of the cannabinoids in treatment.”
To confirm the findings the scientists switched off the CB2 receptors – or ‘closed the garage doors’- on the prostate cells. When cannabinoids were then added to cells without the CB2 receptor, the prostate cancer cells carried on dividing and growing. This suggests that cannabinoids connect with the CB2 receptors on prostate cancer cells to stop cell division and spread.
Professor Ines Diaz-Laviada, study author at the University of Alcala said: “Our research shows that there are areas on prostate cancer cells which can recognise and talk to chemicals found in cannabis called cannabinoids. These chemicals can stop the division and growth of prostate cancer cells and could become a target for new research into potential drugs to treat prostate cancer.””
“We have previously shown that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in prostate cancer PC-3 cells, which express high levels of cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). In this study, we investigated the role of CB2 receptor in the anti-proliferative action of cannabinoids and the signal transduction triggered by receptor ligation.
This study defines the involvement of CB2-mediated signalling in the in vivo and in vitro growth inhibition of prostate cancer cells and suggests that CB2 agonists have potential therapeutic interest and deserve to be explored in the management of prostate cancer.
Cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives, exert a wide spectrum of modulatory actions and pharmacological activities in the brain as well as in the periphery, and therefore, the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids has gained much attention during the past few years. One of the most exciting areas of current research in the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids is cancer.
Recent evidence suggests that cannabinoids are powerful regulators of cell growth and differentiation. They have been shown to exert anti-tumoural effects by decreasing viability, proliferation, adhesion and migration on various cancer cells, thereby suggesting the potential use of cannabinoids in the treatment of gliomas, prostate and breast cancers and malignancies of immune origin.
Overall, our data show a role for the cannabinoid receptor CB2 in the anti-tumour effect of cannabinoids on prostate cells in vitroand in vivo. There is considerable interest in the application of selective CB2 receptor agonists, which are devoid of typical marijuana-like psychoactive properties of CB1 agonists, for future cannabinoid-based anticancer therapies. Therefore, our findings point to the potential application of cannabinoid receptor type 2 ligands as anti-tumour agents in prostate cancer.”
“Male lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are prevalent in the general population, especially in those of advanced age, and are characterized by notable diversity in etiology and presentation, and have been proven to cause various degrees of impairment on quality of life.
The prostate has traditionally been regarded as the core cause of male LUTS. As a result, medical treatment aims to provide symptomatic relief and effective management of progression of male LUTS due to benign prostatic enlargement.
Anti-inflammatory agents, vitamin D3-receptor analogs, and cannabinoids represent treatment modalities currently under investigation for use in LUTS patients.
Furthermore, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone antagonists, transient receptor-potential channel blockers, purinergic neurotransmission antagonists, Rho-kinase inhibitors, and inhibitors of endothelin-converting enzymes could have therapeutic potential in LUTS management, but still remain in the experimental setting.
This article reviews new strategies for the medical treatment of male LUTS, which are dictated by the potential role of the bladder and the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia progression. Moreover, combination treatments and therapies currently under investigation are also presented.”