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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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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Cannabidiol-induced apoptosis is mediated by activation of Noxa in human colorectal cancer cells.

Cancer Letters

“Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the compounds present in the marijuana plant, has anti-tumor properties, but its mechanism is not well known.

This study aimed to evaluate the apoptotic action of CBD in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, and focused on its effects on the novel pro-apoptotic Noxa-reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling pathway.

CBD experiments were performed using the CRC cell lines HCT116 and DLD-1. CBD induced apoptosis by regulating many pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins, of which Noxa showed significantly higher expression. To understand the relationship between Noxa and CBD-induced apoptosis, Noxa levels were downregulated using siRNA, and the expression of apoptosis markers decreased.

After ROS production was blocked, the level of Noxa also decreased, suggesting that ROS is involved in the regulation of Noxa, which along with ROS is a well-known pro-apoptotic signaling agents. As a result, CBD induced apoptosis in a Noxa-and-ROS-dependent manner.

Taken together, the results obtained in this study re-demonstrated the effects of CBD treatment in vivo, thus confirming its role as a novel, reliable anticancer drug.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30660647

“Our results using cells, mice, and patient-derived cells strongly suggest, for the first time, that that CBD can cause Noxa-induced cell death. These results suggest that that CBD has important implications for the potential treatment of human CRC.”

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Combined CB2 Receptor Agonist and Photodynamic Therapy Synergistically Inhibit Tumor Growth in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy

“Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the deadliest form of breast cancer because compared with other types of breast cancer, it is more aggressive, diagnosed at later stage and more likely to develop recurrence.

Many patients do not experience adequate tumor control after current clinical treatments involving surgical removal, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, leading to disease progression and significantly decreased quality of life.

Here we report a new combinatory therapy strategy involving cannabinoid-based medicine and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of TNBC.

This combinatory therapy targets two proteins upregulated in TNBC: the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R, a G-protein coupled receptor) and translocator protein (TSPO, a mitochondria membrane receptor). We found that the combined CB2R agonist and TSPO-PDT treatment resulted in synergistic inhibition in TNBC cell and tumor growth.

This combinatory therapy approach provides new opportunities to treat TNBC with high efficacy. In addition, this study provides new evidence on the therapeutic potential of CB2R agonists for cancer.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30240926

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1572100018301571?via%3Dihub

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Current natural therapies in the treatment against glioblastoma.

Phytotherapy Research banner

“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive brain tumor, which causes the highest number of deaths worldwide. It is a highly vascularized tumor, infiltrative, and its tumorigenic capacity is exacerbated. All these hallmarks are therapeutic targets in GBM treatment, including surgical removal followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Current therapies have not been sufficient for the effective patient’s management, so the classic therapies have had to expand and incorporate new alternative treatments, including natural compounds.

This review summarizes natural products and their physiological effects in in vitro and in vivo models of GBM, specifically by modulating signaling pathways involved in angiogenesis, cell migration/invasion, cell viability, apoptosis, and chemoresistance. The most important aspects of natural products and their derivatives were described in relation to its antitumoral effects.

As a final result, it can be obtained that within the compounds with more evidence that supports or suggests its clinical use are the cannabinoids, terpenes, and curcumin, because many have been shown to have a significant effect in decreasing the progress of GBM through known mechanisms, such as chemo-sensitization or decrease migration and cell invasion.

Natural compounds emerge as promising therapies to attack the progress of GBM.”

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Anti-tumoural actions of cannabinoids.

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“The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a considerable target for the treatment of diverse diseases.

In addition to the well-established palliative effects of cannabinoids in cancer therapy, phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoid compounds as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation have attracted attention as possible systemic anticancer drugs.

As a matter of fact, accumulating data from preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids elicit effects on different levels of cancer progression, comprising inhibition of proliferation, neovascularisation, invasion and chemoresistance, induction of apoptosis and autophagy as well as enhancement of tumour immune surveillance.

Although the clinical use of cannabinoid receptor ligands is limited by their psychoactivity, nonpsychoactive compounds, such as cannabidiol, have gained attention due to preclinically established anticancer properties and a favourable risk-to-benefit profile.

Thus, cannabinoids may complement the currently used collection of chemotherapeutics, as a broadly diversified option for cancer treatment, while counteracting some of their severe side effects.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019449

“During the last few decades, a large body of evidence has accumulated to suggest endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids exert an inhibitory effect on cancer growth via blockade of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Some studies support the hypothesis that cannabinoids may enhance immune responses against the progressive growth and spread of tumours.”  https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bph.14426#bph14426-fig-0001
“Previous research has shown that cannabinoids can help lessen side effects of anti-cancer therapies. Now a new British Journal of Pharmacology review has examined their potential for the direct treatment of cancer. Studies have shown that cannabinoids may stop cancer cells from dividing and invading normal tissue, and they may block the blood supply to tumors. Some studies also indicate that cannabinoids may enhance the body’s immune response against the growth and spread of tumors.” https://www.eurasiareview.com/19072018-cannabinoids-may-have-a-vast-array-of-anti-cancer-effects/
“Cannabinoids may have a vast array of anti-cancer effects” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180718082143.htm

“Cannabinoids may have a vast array of anti-cancer effects”  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-07/w-cmh071718.php

Marijuana may help fight cancer” https://nypost.com/2018/07/18/marijuana-may-help-fight-cancer/

“Cannabis stops cancer spreading and boosts immune system, say scientists. Studies show cannabinoids can stop cancer cells from dividing and spreading, and blocks blood supply to tumours” https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/health/cannabis-can-cure-cancer-proof-1803485
“Cannabis stops cancer spreading and boosts immune system, say scientists. Cannabis can act as a treatment for cancer and boost the immune system, claims a new study.” https://www.devonlive.com/news/health/cannabis-can-cure-cancer-proof-1803485
“Cannabis stops cancer spreading and boosts immune system, say scientists. Cannabis can act as a treatment for cancer and boost the immune system, claims a new study.” https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/uk-world-news/cannabis-can-cure-cancer-proof-1803485
Cannabis ‘can act as a treatment for cancer’. Cannabis can enhance the immune system and act as a treatment for cancer, claims a new study. Scientists at Rostock University Medical Centre in Germany claimed the benefits following a review of more than 100 studies.” https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/cannabis-can-act-as-a-treatment-for-cancer/19/07/
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Novel mechanism of cannabidiol-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines.

The Breast Home

“Studies have emphasized an antineoplastic effect of the non-psychoactive, phyto-cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD). However, the molecular mechanism underlying its antitumor activity is not fully elucidated.

Herein, we have examined the effect of CBD on two different human breast cancer cell lines: the ER-positive, well differentiated, T-47D and the triple negative, poor differentiated, MDA-MB-231 cells.

In both cell lines, CBD inhibited cell survival and induced apoptosis in a dose dependent manner as observed by MTT assay, morphological changes, DNA fragmentation and ELISA apoptosis assay. CBD-induced apoptosis was accompanied by down-regulation of mTOR, cyclin D1 and up-regulation and localization of PPARγ protein expression in the nuclei and cytoplasmic of the tested cells.

The results suggest that CBD treatment induces an interplay among PPARγ, mTOR and cyclin D1 in favor of apoptosis induction in both ER-positive and triple negative breast cancer cells, proposing CBD as a useful treatment for different breast cancer subtypes.”

“Programmed Cell Death (Apoptosis)” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26873/
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Cannabis: A Prehistoric Remedy for the Deficits of Existing and Emerging Anticancer Therapies

“Cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries and numerous species of this genus are undoubtedly amongst the primeval plant remedies known to humans.

Cannabis sativa in particular is the most reported species, due to its substantial therapeutic implications that are owed to the presence of chemically and pharmacologically diverse cannabinoids.

These compounds have long been used for the palliative treatment of cancer.

Recent advancements in receptor pharmacology research have led to the identification of cannabinoids as effective antitumor agents.

This property is accredited for their ability to induce apoptosis, suppress proliferative cell signalling pathways and promote cell growth inhibition.

Evolving lines of evidence suggest that cannabinoid analogues, as well as their receptor agonists, may offer a novel strategy to treat various forms of cancer.

This review summarizes the historical perspective of C. sativa, its potential mechanism of action, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic aspects of cannabinoids, with special emphasis on their anticancer potentials.”

http://www.xiahepublishing.com/ArticleFullText.aspx?sid=2&jid=3&id=10.14218%2FJERP.2017.00012

Cannabis products.

“Cannabis products. First row, left to right: Indian, Lebanese, Turkish and Pakistani hashish. Second row, left to right: Swiss hashish, Zairean marijuana, Swiss marijuana, Moroccan hash oil.”

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Appraising the “entourage effect”: antitumor action of a pure cannabinoid versus a botanical drug preparation in preclinical models of breast cancer.

Image result for Biochem Pharmacol.

“Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Although early diagnosis and development of new treatments have improved their prognosis, many patients present innate or acquired resistance to current therapies. New therapeutic approaches are therefore warranted for the management of this disease.

Extensive preclinical research has demonstrated that cannabinoids, the active ingredients of Cannabis sativa, trigger antitumor responses in different models of cancer. Most of these studies have been conducted with pure compounds, mainly Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The cannabis plant, however, produces hundreds of other compounds with their own therapeutic potential and the capability to induce synergic responses when combined, the so-called “entourage effect”.

Here, we compared the antitumor efficacy of pure THC with that of a botanical drug preparation (BDP). The BDP was more potent than pure THC in producing antitumor responses in cell culture and animal models of ER+/PR+, HER2+ and triple-negative breast cancer. This increased potency was not due to the presence of the 5 most abundant terpenes in the preparation.

While pure THC acted by activating cannabinoid CB2 receptors and generating reactive oxygen species, the BDP modulated different targets and mechanisms of action. The combination of cannabinoids with estrogen receptor- or HER2-targeted therapies (tamoxifen and lapatinib, respectively) or with cisplatin, produced additive antiproliferative responses in cell cultures. Combinations of these treatments in vivo showed no interactions, either positive or negative.

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.”

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