“It has been previously demonstrated in several cancer models, that Dronabinol (THC) may have anti-tumor activity – however, controversial data exists for acute leukemia. We have anecdotal evidence that THC may have contributed to disease control in a patient with acute undifferentiated leukemia.
To test this hypothesis, we evaluated the antileukemic efficacy of THC in several leukemia cell lines and native leukemia blasts cultured ex vivo.
We here reveal a novel aspect of dronabinol, a cannabinoid derivative, which displays remarkable antiproliferative as well as proapoptotic efficacy in a distinct leukemia patient cohort – in vitro and in ex vivo native leukemia blasts. It has been previously reported that cannabinoids display anticancer properties. However, due to legal issues the use and exploration of such agents is highly limited in many countries.
Importantly, we demonstrate that antileukemic concentrations are achievable in vivo.
Our study provides rigorous data to support clinical evaluation of THC as a low-toxic therapy option in a well defined subset of acute leukemia patients.”