Luka Dobovišek, Fran Krstanović, Simona Borštnar, Nataša Debeljak
Published in Cancers
25 February 2020
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Approximately 70-80% of BCs express estrogen receptors (ER), which predict the response to endocrine therapy (ET), and are therefore hormone receptor-positive (HR+). Endogenous cannabinoids together with cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1, CB2) constitute the basis of the endocannabinoid system. Interactions of cannabinoids with hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis hormones are well documented, and two studies found a positive correlation between peak plasma endogenous cannabinoid anandamide with peak plasma 17β-estradiol, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels at ovulation in healthy premenopausal women. Do cannabinoids have an effect on HR+ BC? In this paper we review known and possible interactions between cannabinoids and specific HR+ BC treatments. In preclinical studies, CB1 and CB2 agonists (i.e., anandamide, THC) have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of ER positive BC cell lines. There is less evidence for antitumor cannabinoid action in HR+ BC in animal models and there are no clinical trials exploring the effects of cannabinoids on HR+ BC treatment outcomes. Two studies have shown that tamoxifen and several other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) can act as inverse agonists on CB1 and CB2, an interaction with possible clinical consequences. In addition, cannabinoid action could interact with other commonly used endocrine and targeted therapies used in the treatment of HR+ BC.
Dobovišek L, Krstanović F, Borštnar S, Debeljak N. Cannabinoids and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer treatment. Cancers (Basel). 2020;12(3). doi:10.3390/cancers12030525