Targeting the Endocannabinoid System Present in the Glioblastoma Tumour Microenvironment as a Potential Anti-Cancer Strategy

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“The highly aggressive and invasive glioblastoma (GBM) tumour is the most malignant lesion among adult-type diffuse gliomas, representing the most common primary brain tumour in the neuro-oncology practice of adults. With a poor overall prognosis and strong resistance to treatment, this nervous system tumour requires new innovative treatment. GBM is a polymorphic tumour consisting of an array of stromal cells and various malignant cells contributing to tumour initiation, progression, and treatment response.

Cannabinoids possess anti-cancer potencies against glioma cell lines and in animal models.

To improve existing treatment, cannabinoids as functionalised ligands on nanocarriers were investigated as potential anti-cancer agents. The GBM tumour microenvironment is a multifaceted system consisting of resident or recruited immune cells, extracellular matrix components, tissue-resident cells, and soluble factors. The immune microenvironment accounts for a substantial volume of GBM tumours. The barriers to the treatment of glioblastoma with cannabinoids, such as crossing the blood-brain barrier and psychoactive and off-target side effects, can be alleviated with the use of nanocarrier drug delivery systems and functionalised ligands for improved specificity and targeting of pharmacological receptors and anti-cancer signalling pathways.

This review has shown the presence of endocannabinoid receptors in the tumour microenvironment, which can be used as a potential unique target for specific drug delivery. Existing cannabinoid agents, studied previously, show anti-cancer potencies via signalling pathways associated with the hallmarks of cancer. The results of the review can be used to provide guidance in the design of future drug therapy for glioblastoma tumours.”

“Cannabinoids may offer a more effective and tolerable treatment option for GBM patients.”

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