Cannabinoids — the active components of Cannabis sativa linnaeus (marijuana) — have growth-inhibiting effects on gliomas, but their potential for treating other tumors such as non-melanoma skin cancer, has been unclear. In the January 1 Journal of Clinical Investigation, Llanos Casanova and colleagues from Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Madrid, Spain, show that activation of cannabinoid receptors inhibit skin tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 111:43-50, January 1, 2003).

Using nude mice, Casanova et al. injected the mixed CB1/CB2 agonist WIN-55,212-2 or the selective CB2 agonist JWH-133 into the epidermis adjacent to induced non-melanomic malignancies and observed a considerable inhibition in tumor growth. Cannabinoid-treated tumors showed an increased number of apoptotic cells, altered blood vessel morphology and decreased expression of proangiogenic factors (VEGF, placental growth factor, and angiopoietin 2). In addition, abrogation of EGF-R function was also observed in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!