Opinion | Published:

Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents

Nature Reviews Cancer volume 12, pages 436444 (2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

Various reports have shown that cannabinoids (the active components of marijuana and their derivatives) can reduce tumour growth and progression in animal models of cancer, in addition to their well-known palliative effects on some cancer-associated symptoms. This Opinion article discusses our current understanding of cannabinoids as antitumour agents, focusing on recent insights into the molecular mechanisms of action, including emerging resistance mechanisms and opportunities for combination therapy approaches. Such knowledge is required for the optimization of preclinical cannabinoid-based therapies and for the preliminary clinical testing that is currently underway.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) (PS09/01401, FR2009-0052 and IT2009-0053 to G.V.; and PI11/00295 to C.S.), Comunidad de Madrid (S2011/BMD-2308 and 950344 to M.G.), GW Pharmaceuticals (to G.V., C.S. and M.G.) and Schering-Plough (to G.V.).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Guillermo Velasco, Cristina Sánchez and Manuel Guzmán are at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, School of Biology, Complutense University, and the Instituto Universitario de Investigación Neuroquímica (IUIN), Madrid 28040, Spain.

    • Guillermo Velasco
    • , Cristina Sánchez
    •  & Manuel Guzmán
  2. Guillermo Velasco and Manuel Guzmán are also at the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Madrid 28040, Spain.

    • Guillermo Velasco
    •  & Manuel Guzmán
  3. Guillermo Velasco is also at the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos (IdISSC), Madrid 28040, Spain.

    • Guillermo Velasco
  4. Manuel Guzmán is also at the Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria (IRYCIS), Madrid 28040, Spain.

    • Manuel Guzmán

Authors

  1. Search for Guillermo Velasco in:

  2. Search for Cristina Sánchez in:

  3. Search for Manuel Guzmán in:

Competing interests

G.V., C.S. and M.G. declare that GW Pharmaceuticals and Schering-Plough funded part of the research of their laboratory. Likewise, part of the data obtained by the authors in relation to the antitumour action of cannabinoids is included in three patent applications presented by GW Pharmaceuticals.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guillermo Velasco.

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    Supplementary Table S1

    Cannabinoid activity in animal models of cancer

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc3247

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