|Cannabinoid-associated cell death mechanisms in tumor models (Review)|
Authors: Giuseppe Calvaruso, Ornella Pellerito, Antonietta Notaro, Michela Giuliano
Affiliations: Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neuroscience, Section of Biochemical Sciences, University of Palermo, 90129 Palermo, Italy
Published online on: Monday, May 14, 2012
In recent years, cannabinoids (the active components of Cannabis sativa) and their derivatives have received considerable interest due to findings that they can affect the viability and invasiveness of a variety of different cancer cells. Moreover, in addition to their inhibitory effects on tumor growth and migration, angiogenesis and metastasis, the ability of these compounds to induce different pathways of cell death has been highlighted. Here, we review the most recent results generating interest in the field of death mechanisms induced by cannabinoids in cancer cells. In particular, we analyze the pathways triggered by cannabinoids to induce apoptosis or autophagy and investigate the interplay between the two processes. Overall, the results reported here suggest that the exploration of molecular mechanisms induced by cannabinoids in cancer cells can contribute to the development of safe and effective treatments in cancer therapy.