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Cannabinoid Signaling in Cancer

  • Subhadip Das
  • Kirti Kaul
  • Sanjay Mishra
  • Manish Charan
  • Ramesh K. GanjuEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1162)

Abstract

The family of chemical structures that interact with a cannabinoid receptor are broadly termed cannabinoids. Traditionally known for their psychotropic effects and their use as palliative medicine in cancer, cannabinoids are very versatile and are known to interact with several orphan receptors besides cannabinoid receptors (CBR) in the body. Recent studies have shown that several key pathways involved in cell growth, differentiation and, even metabolism and apoptosis crosstalk with cannabinoid signaling. Several of these pathways including AKT, EGFR, and mTOR are known to contribute to tumor development and metastasis, and cannabinoids may reverse their effects, thereby by inducing apoptosis, autophagy and modulating the immune system. In this book chapter, we explore how cannabinoids regulate diverse signaling mechanisms in cancer and immune cells within the tumor microenvironment and whether they impart a therapeutic effect. We also provide some important insight into the role of cannabinoids in cellular and whole body metabolism in the context of tumor inhibition. Finally, we highlight recent and ongoing clinical trials that include cannabinoids as a therapeutic strategy and several combinational approaches towards novel therapeutic opportunities in several invasive cancer conditions.

Keywords

Cannabinoids Tumor microenvironment Signaling Metabolism 

Abbreviations

2-AG

2-arachindonoylglycerol

AEA

anandamide

AMPK

5′ AMP-activated protein kinase

CBD

cannabinoids

CBR

cannabinoid receptor

COX-2

cyclooxygenase-2

CXCL

C-X-C motif chemokine ligand

EGFR

epidermal growth factor receptor

EMT

epithelial to mesenchymal transition

E:R

endoplasmic reticulum

mTOR

mammalian target of rapamycin

PPAR

peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors

ROS

reactive oxygen species

TAMs

tumor associated macrophages

THC

Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol

TME

tumor microenvironment

TRPV2

transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 2.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work is supported in part by the Department of Defense Level II Breakthrough Award and Pelotonia IDEA Award.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Subhadip Das
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kirti Kaul
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sanjay Mishra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manish Charan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ramesh K. Ganju
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PathologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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