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Cannabinoids and Cancer

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Abstract:

Marijuana has been used in medicine for millennia, but it was not until 1964 that Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), its major psychoactive component, was isolated in pure form and its structure was elucidated. Shortly thereafter it was synthesized and became readily available. However, it took another decade until the first report on its antineoplastic activity appeared. In 1975, Munson discovered that cannabinoids suppress Lewis lung carcinoma cell growth. The mechanism of this action was shown to be inhibition of DNA synthesis. Antiproliferative action on some other cancer cells was also found. In spite of the promising results from these early studies, further investigations in this area were not reported until a few years ago, when almost simultaneously two groups initiated research on the antiproliferative effects of cannabinoids on cancer cells: Di Marzo's group found that cannabinoids inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation, and Guzman's group found that cannabinoids inhibit the growth of C6 glioma cell. Other groups also started work in this field, and today, a wide array of cancer cell lines that are affected is known, and some mechanisms involved have been elucidated.

Keywords: angiogenesis; cancer; cannabinoid; endocannabinoid; mechanisms

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/138955705774329555

Affiliations: Hebrew University, Pharmacy School, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, Israel.

Publication date: October 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The aim of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is to publish short reviews on the important recent developments in medicinal chemistry and allied disciplines.

    The scope of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry will cover all areas of medicinal chemistry including developments in rational drug design, synthetic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, high-throughput screening, combinatorial chemistry, drug targets, and natural product research and structure-activity relationship studies.

    Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal and pharmaceutical chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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