Can CBD Induce Apoptosis in Endometrial Cancer?
One of the most studied and promising fields with respect to the use of cannabinoids, especially Cannabidiol (CBD) is the field of cellular aberrations, better known as cancer.
With around 69,000 studies published in search engines at the level of scientific research (PubMed Central), it is increasingly considered that this alternative can be integrated into conventional therapy when dealing with this disease.
Next, we will present a study carried out last February 2018 by a group of researchers at the University of Navarra, led by Bruno Fonseca, Correira-da-Silva and Teixeira. The focus of the study was based on the ability of cannabinoids to induce the process of programmed cell death (apoptosis) within cancer cells specifically found in endometrial tissue.
What is Endometrial Cancer?
Endometrial cancer is one of the cellular aberrations that is present in 13% of cancers that affect women, usually occurring after menopause, around 55 and 59 years of age, being rare to be in pre-menopause stages ( before age 40).
This very specific cellular aberration affects the lining of the uterine wall, becoming differentiated into two subtypes:
80 - 90% of endometrial cancers
Highly dependent on the hormone estrogen
Independent of estrogen
It is usually more aggressive in its nature
Points to Consider in the Risk of Endometrial Cancer
Within the following points are those factors that could increase the risk of developing this type of disease:
Hyperplasia of the endometrium
Metabolic syndromes (hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, high triglyceride concentrations)
Presenting menstruation at an early age
Suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Treatment with Tamoxifen for breast cancer
Hormone treatment with estrogen alone
Having a mother, sister or daughter with uterine cancer
Abnormal vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain are included within the signs and symptoms of this disease
There are external factors that could influence the prognosis (probability of recovery) and treatment options
It is reported that the rate of survival of this disease to five years is high, however it is not 100%, so research is underway to understand this cancer and develop new treatments. An article recently published in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry shows how the pharmacological properties of cannabinoids can play a role in the field of novel therapies
What is the Study with CBD based on?
Cellular communication exists primarily through chemical signals. The cell that sends a signal releases a component in the intercellular space, said signals captured by suitable receptors on the surface of the neighboring cells, thus producing a response.
This is a common mechanism of cell-cell communication, and is used to control a very wide range of crucial biological processes, such as: The control of the behavior of stem cells, and much more important in this case, the induction of apoptosis malignant cells
It is reported that cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), act as chemical signals when incorporated into our system, either orally (CBD oils) or when inhaled (smoke from cannabis combustion). The neurons and cells that present the appropriate and specific receptors will be activated through this signaling, thus giving a biological effect as a response.
Our bodies produce two chemicals called AEA and 2-AG, which are collectively called endocannabinoids (EC), so called because of their structural similarity to THC and CBD. These chemicals interact with two receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors regulate several cellular responses, including programmed cell death. In addition, it has been shown that some types of cancer express CB receptors, making them potentially sensitive to EC signals. Based on these characteristics, the authors investigate the ability of AE, THC and CBD to induce cell death in cancer cells of the endometrium.
Promising results with cannabinoids?
For this type of studies it is a fairly established practice, the use of cultures of cell lines, especially of those cells that are sensitive to mutations or changes at the genetic level that give rise to a type of cancer, in this case, cells were used. endometrium representing the two subtypes, Type I and Type II. The use of a non-cancerous cell line as a control was also reported.
Each cell culture was treated with the four mentioned cannabinoids, evaluating the effect by two complementary methods. The researchers report that both the EC and the CBD were able to kill the cancer cells, also showing a very safe profile within the healthy cells, since they did not show any cellular damage.
On the other hand, THC had no effect on any of the cell lines, even at higher concentrations. This demonstrates the ability of certain cannabinoids to kill endometrial cancer cells.
The treatments of AEA and CBD generated evidence of programmed cell death in Type I cells. No such tests were found for type II cells, regardless of treatment. These tests indicate that AEA and CBD can induce programmed cell death in Type I endometrial cancer cells, but not Type II.
Finally, to go deeper into the molecular mechanisms, they analyzed which receptors were those related to this process. In addition to CB1 and CB2, there is a third receptor called TRPVI that is activated by the EC. In these tests, they deactivated each of the receptors individually, to then treat the cells with cannabinoids. For Type I cells, only the third receptor for cell death was required, while none of them was necessary for Type II cell death. In practical terms, this means that LVEDP, and not CB receptors, are targets for the treatment of cancer.
Conclusions About the Use of CBD in Cancer?
From this study you can extract different very interesting results.
On the one hand, it is reported that the properties of CBD can be an effective treatment for both Type I and Type II endometrial cancer.
CBD induced programmed cell death only in Type I cells, but in fact it was more effective in killing Type II cells.
Type II is the most aggressive cancer, being this a promising news for those patients with this type of cells.
Second, the TRPVI receptor is identified as a potential treatment target. While this is useful in itself, it also demonstrates the broader applications of cannabis-based research.
As always, these results should lead to complex much deeper studies and, in order to know more scientific scrutiny applications and limitations that could lead to treatment with such molecules, especially taking into account that a cell culture is in a much more controlled environment when compared to the complexity of living tissues within the human body. Point that should be taken into account when creating new research protocols.
Finally, genetic differences between individuals can influence the way the patient responds to different medications or treatments, however, these results suggest that CBD and other cannabinoids have a wide potential to create alternatives for the treatment of this disease. , or to create joint therapies with more conventional treatments.
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