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Cannabis -vs- Colorectal Cancer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6038055:  This study was aimed to specify the cytotoxic effect of C. sativa-derived extracts on colon cancer cells and adenomatous polyps by identification of active compound(s) and characterization of their interaction.  Materials and Methods: Ethanol extracts of C. sativa were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry and their cytotoxic activity was determined using alamarBlue-based assay (Resazurin) and tetrazolium dye-based assay (XTT) on cancer and normal colon cell lines and on dysplastic adenomatous polyp cells. Annexin V Assay and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) were used to determine apoptosis and cell cycle, and RNA sequencing was used to determine gene expression.

Results: The unheated cannabis extracts (C2F), fraction 7 (F7), and fraction 3 (F3) had cytotoxic activity on colon cancer cells, but reduced activity on normal colon cell lines. Moreover, synergistic interaction was found between F7 and F3 and the latter contains mainly cannabigerolic acid. The F7 and F7+F3 cytotoxic activity involved cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in S or G0/G1 phases, respectively. RNA profiling identified 2283 differentially expressed genes in F7+F3 treatment, among them genes related to the Wnt signaling pathway and apoptosis-related genes. Moreover, F7, F3, and F7+F3 treatments induced cell death of polyp cells.

Conclusions: C. sativa compounds interact synergistically for cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cells and induce cell cycle arrest, apoptotic cell death, and distinct gene expression. F3, F7, and F7+F3 are also active on adenomatous polyps, suggesting possible future therapeutic value.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24373545:  Colon cancer is a major public health problem. Cannabis-based medicines are useful adjunctive treatments in cancer patients. Here, we have investigated the effect of a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol (CBD), here named CBD BDS, i.e. CBD botanical drug substance, on colorectal cancer cell proliferation and in experimental models of colon cancer in vivo.

Proliferation was evaluated in colorectal carcinoma (DLD-1 and HCT116) as well as in healthy colonic cells using the MTT assay. CBD BDS binding was evaluated by its ability to displace [(3)H]CP55940 from human cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors. In vivo, the effect of CBD BDS was examined on the preneoplastic lesions (aberrant crypt foci), polyps and tumours induced by the carcinogenic agent azoxymethane (AOM) as well as in a xenograft model of colon cancer in mice.

CBD BDS and CBD reduced cell proliferation in tumoral, but not in healthy, cells. The effect of CBD BDS was counteracted by selective CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonists. Pure CBD reduced cell proliferation in a CB1-sensitive antagonist manner only. In binding assays, CBD BDS showed greater affinity than pure CBD for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, with pure CBD having very little affinity. In vivo, CBD BDS reduced AOM-induced preneoplastic lesions and polyps as well as tumour growth in the xenograft model of colon cancer.  CBD BDS attenuates colon carcinogenesis and inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation via CB1 and CB2 receptor activation. The results may have some clinical relevance for the use of Cannabis-based medicines in cancer patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25269802Cannabigerol (CBG) is a safe non-psychotropic Cannabis-derived cannabinoid (CB), which interacts with specific targets involved in carcinogenesis. Specifically, CBG potently blocks transient receptor potential (TRP) M8 (TRPM8), activates TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels, blocks 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (5-HT1A) receptors and inhibits the reuptake of endocannabinoids. Here, we investigated whether CBG protects against colon tumourigenesis. Cell growth was evaluated in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide and 3-amino-7-dimethylamino-2-methylphenazine hydrochloride assays; apoptosis was examined by histology and by assessing caspase 3/7 activity; reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by a fluorescent probe; CB receptors, TRP and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) messenger RNA (mRNA) expression were quantified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction; small hairpin RNA-vector silencing of TRPM8 was performed by electroporation. The in vivo antineoplastic effect of CBG was assessed using mouse models of colon cancer. CRC cells expressed TRPM8, CB1, CB2, 5-HT1A receptors, TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 mRNA. CBG promoted apoptosis, stimulated ROS production, upregulated CHOP mRNA and reduced cell growth in CRC cells. CBG effect on cell growth was independent from TRPA1, TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels activation, was further increased by a CB2 receptor antagonist, and mimicked by other TRPM8 channel blockers but not by a 5-HT1A antagonist. Furthermore, the effect of CBG on cell growth and on CHOP mRNA expression was reduced in TRPM8 silenced cells. In vivo, CBG inhibited the growth of xenograft tumours as well as chemically induced colon carcinogenesis. CBG hampers colon cancer progression in vivo and selectively inhibits the growth of CRC cells, an effect shared by other TRPM8 antagonists. CBG should be considered translationally in CRC prevention and cure.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19442536Emerging evidence suggests that cannabinoids may exert beneficial effects in intestinal inflammation and cancer. Adaptive changes of the endocannabinoid system have been observed in intestinal biopsies from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. Studies on epithelial cells have shown that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative, antimetastatic and apoptotic effects as well as reducing cytokine release and promoting wound healing. In vivo, cannabinoids - via direct or indirect activation of CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors - exert protective effects in well-established models of intestinal inflammation and colon cancer. Pharmacological elevation of endocannabinoid levels may be a promising strategy to counteract intestinal inflammation and colon cancer.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22231745Colon cancer affects millions of individuals in Western countries. Cannabidiol, a safe and non-psychotropic ingredient of Cannabis sativa, exerts pharmacological actions (antioxidant and intestinal antinflammatory) and mechanisms (inhibition of endocannabinoid enzymatic degradation) potentially beneficial for colon carcinogenesis. Thus, we investigated its possible chemopreventive effect in the model of colon cancer induced by azoxymethane (AOM) in mice. AOM treatment was associated with aberrant crypt foci (ACF, preneoplastic lesions), polyps, and tumour formation, up-regulation of phospho-Akt, iNOS and COX-2 and down-regulation of caspase-3. Cannabidiol-reduced ACF, polyps and tumours and counteracted AOM-induced phospho-Akt and caspase-3 changes. In colorectal carcinoma cell lines, cannabidiol protected DNA from oxidative damage, increased endocannabinoid levels and reduced cell proliferation in a CB(1)-, TRPV1- and PPARγ-antagonists sensitive manner. It is concluded that cannabidiol exerts chemopreventive effect in vivo and reduces cell proliferation through multiple mechanisms.

​​​​http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19047095:  Cannabinoids have been recently proposed as a new family of potential antitumor agents. The present study was undertaken to investigate the expression of the two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, in colorectal cancer and to provide new insight into the molecular pathways underlying the apoptotic activity induced by their activation. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Cannabinoid receptor expression was investigated in both human cancer specimens and in the DLD-1 and HT29 colon cancer cell lines. The effects of the CB1 agonist arachinodyl-2'-chloroethylamide and the CB2 agonist N-cyclopentyl-7-methyl-1-(2-morpholin-4-ylethyl)-1,8-naphthyridin-4(1H)-on-3-carboxamide (CB13) on tumor cell apoptosis and ceramide and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production were evaluated. The knockdown of TNF-alpha mRNA was obtained with the use of selective small interfering RNA. RESULTS: We show that the CB1 receptor was mainly expressed in human normal colonic epithelium whereas tumor tissue was strongly positive for the CB2 receptor. The activation of the CB1 and, more efficiently, of the CB2 receptors induced apoptosis and increased ceramide levels in the DLD-1 and HT29 cells. Apoptosis was prevented by the pharmacologic inhibition of ceramide de novo synthesis. The CB2 agonist CB13 also reduced the growth of DLD-1 cells in a mouse model of colon cancer. The knockdown of TNF-alpha mRNA abrogated the ceramide increase and, therefore, the apoptotic effect induced by cannabinoid receptor activation. CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows that either CB1 or CB2 receptor activation induces apoptosis through ceramide de novo synthesis in colon cancer cells. Our data unveiled, for the first time, that TNF-alpha acts as a link between cannabinoid receptor activation and ceramide production.