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Keywords:

  • Cannabinoids;
  • cancer;
  • therapy

In the last two decades, research has dramatically increased the knowledge of cannabinoids biology and pharmacology. In mammals, compounds with properties similar to active components of Cannabis sativa, the so called ‘endocannabinoids’, have been shown to modulate key cell-signalling pathways involved in cancer cell growth, invasion and metastasis. To date, cannabinoids have been licensed for clinical use as palliative treatment of chemotherapy, but increased evidences showed direct antiproliferative actions of cannabinoid agonists on several tumour cells in vitro and in animal models. In this article, we will review the principal molecular pathways modulated by cannabinoids on cancer and summarize pros and cons evidence on the possible future use of endocannabinoid-based drugs in cancer therapy.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2006) 148, 123–135. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706632