(Endo)cannabinoids and gynaecological cancers

Anthony H. Taylor, Daniel Tortolani, Thangesweran Ayakannu, Justin C. Konje, Mauro Maccarrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gynaecological cancers can be primary neoplasms, originating either from the reproductive tract or the products of conception, or secondary neoplasms, representative of metastatic disease. For some of these cancers, the exact causes are unknown; however, it is recognised that the precise aetiopathogeneses for most are multifactorial and include exogenous (such as diet) and endogenous factors (such as genetic predisposition), which mutually interact in a complex manner. One factor that has been recognised to be involved in the pathogenesis and progression of gynaecological cancers is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of endocannabinoids (bioactive lipids), their receptors, and metabolic enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation. In this review, the impact of plant-derived (Cannabis species) cannabinoids and endocannabinoids on gynaecological cancers will be discussed within the context of the complexity of the proteins that bind, transport, and metabolise these compounds in reproductive and other tissues. In particular, the potential of endocannabinoids, their receptors, and metabolic enzymes as biomarkers of specific cancers, such as those of the endometrium, will be addressed. Additionally, the therapeutic potential of targeting selected elements of the ECS as new action points for the development of innovative drugs will be presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalCancers
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Cannabinoids
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Enzymes
  • Gynaecological cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Recep-tors
  • Signal transduction
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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