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Review

Pros and Cons of the Cannabinoid System in Cancer: Focus on Hematological Malignancies

1
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, 98125 Messina, Italy
2
Hematology, Azienda USL Toscana Nord Ovest, 55100 Lucca, Italy
3
Department of Human Pathology in Adulthood and Childhood, University of Messina, 98125 Messina, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alessia Ligresti and Lakshmi Kotra
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3866; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133866
Received: 15 May 2021 / Revised: 9 June 2021 / Accepted: 20 June 2021 / Published: 24 June 2021
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a composite cell-signaling system that allows endogenous cannabinoid ligands to control cell functions through the interaction with cannabinoid receptors. Modifications of the ECS might contribute to the pathogenesis of different diseases, including cancers. However, the use of these compounds as antitumor agents remains debatable. Pre-clinical experimental studies have shown that cannabinoids (CBs) might be effective for the treatment of hematological malignancies, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Specifically, CBs may activate programmed cell death mechanisms, thus blocking cancer cell growth, and may modulate both autophagy and angiogenesis. Therefore, CBs may have significant anti-tumor effects in hematologic diseases and may synergistically act with chemotherapeutic agents, possibly also reducing chemoresistance. Moreover, targeting ECS might be considered as a novel approach for the management of graft versus host disease, thus reducing some symptoms such as anorexia, cachexia, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and neuropathic pain. The aim of the present review is to collect the state of the art of CBs effects on hematological tumors, thus focusing on the essential topics that might be useful before moving into the clinical practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: hematological malignancies; cannabinoids; medical cannabis; anti-tumor effects; leukemia; lymphoma; bone marrow transplantation hematological malignancies; cannabinoids; medical cannabis; anti-tumor effects; leukemia; lymphoma; bone marrow transplantation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Irrera, N.; Bitto, A.; Sant’Antonio, E.; Lauro, R.; Musolino, C.; Allegra, A. Pros and Cons of the Cannabinoid System in Cancer: Focus on Hematological Malignancies. Molecules 2021, 26, 3866. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133866

AMA Style

Irrera N, Bitto A, Sant’Antonio E, Lauro R, Musolino C, Allegra A. Pros and Cons of the Cannabinoid System in Cancer: Focus on Hematological Malignancies. Molecules. 2021; 26(13):3866. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133866

Chicago/Turabian Style

Irrera, Natasha, Alessandra Bitto, Emanuela Sant’Antonio, Rita Lauro, Caterina Musolino, and Alessandro Allegra. 2021. "Pros and Cons of the Cannabinoid System in Cancer: Focus on Hematological Malignancies" Molecules 26, no. 13: 3866. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133866

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