Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and cancer.

Hermanson DJ, Marnett LJ
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2011 30 (3-4): 599-612

PMID: 22038019 · PMCID: PMC3366283 · DOI:10.1007/s10555-011-9318-8

The endocannabinoid system consists of an array of endogenously produced bioactive lipids that activate cannabinoid receptors. Although the primary focus of endocannabinoid biology has been on neurological and psychiatric effects, recent work has revealed several important interactions between the endocannabinoid system and cancer. Several different types of cancer have abnormal regulation of the endocannabinoid system that contributes to cancer progression and correlates to clinical outcomes. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system by pharmacological agents in various cancer types reveals that it can mediate antiproliferative and apoptotic effects by both cannabinoid receptor-dependent and -independent pathways. Selective agonists and antagonists of the cannabinoid receptors, inhibitors of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and cannabinoid analogs have been utilized to probe the pathways involved in the effects of the endocannabinoid system on cancer cell apoptosis, proliferation, migration, adhesion, and invasion. The antiproliferative and apoptotic effects produced by some of these pharmacological probes reveal that the endocannabinoid system is a promising new target for the development of novel chemotherapeutics to treat cancer.

MeSH Terms (13)

Animals Antineoplastic Agents Apoptosis Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonists Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators Cannabinoids Cell Physiological Phenomena Endocannabinoids Humans Neoplasms Receptors, Cannabinoid Signal Transduction

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