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Pharmacol Res. 2009 Aug;60(2):107-16. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2009.03.011. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Endocannabinoid system modulation in cancer biology and therapy.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, Italy.

Abstract

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system and the recognition of its potential impact in a plethora of pathological conditions, led to the development of therapeutic agents related to either the stimulation or antagonism of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, the majority of which are actually tested in preclinical studies for the pharmacotherapy of several diseases. Endocannabinoid-related agents have been reported to affect multiple signaling pathways and biological processes involved in the development of cancer, displaying an interesting anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-angiogenic and anti-metastatic activity both in vitro and in vivo in several models of cancer. Emerging evidence suggests that agonists of cannabinoid receptors, which share the useful property to discern between tumor cells and their non-transformed counterparts, could represent novel tumor-selective tools to treat cancer in addition to their already exploited use as palliative drugs to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea, pain and anorexia/weight loss in cancer patients. The aim of this review is to evidence and update the recent emerging knowledge about the role of the endocannabinoid system in cancer biology and the potentiality of its modulation in cancer therapy.

PMID:
19559362
DOI:
10.1016/j.phrs.2009.03.011
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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