(Endo)Cannabinoids and Gynaecological Cancers
Endocannabinoid Research Group, Reproductive Sciences Section, Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
European Centre for Brain Research, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, 00164 Rome, Italy
Gynaecology Oncology Cancer Centre, Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Liverpool L8 7SS, UK
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK
Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 November 2020 / Revised: 18 December 2020 / Accepted: 22 December 2020 / Published: 25 December 2020
Cancers of the female reproductive system are common and are responsible for a large number of deaths in women. The exact reasons why some of these cancers occur are unknown. It is, however, known that for most of these cancers, several factors interact for them to happen. These interactions involve factors external and internal to the woman. An understanding of some of the internal factors involved in how these cancers arise will not only help drive preventive strategies, but will speed the development of new treatment approaches. The endocannabinoid system is a family including chemicals (known as endocannabinoids) produced in the body that are similar to those derived from the cannabis plant. This system, which is widely distributed in the body, has been shown to be involved in various functions. Its disruption has been shown to lead to various diseases, one of which is cancer. In this review, we summarise current knowledge of this system, its various constituents, and how they are involved in reproductive events and their pathologies, especially cancers. Furthermore, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid system in these cancers and how targeting it could lead to new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system.