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Cannabinoids Suppress Tumor Invasion In Vitro

May be an option to treat highly invasive cancers

THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabinoids suppress tumor invasion in vitro and may be useful in treating highly invasive cancers, according to study findings published in the Jan. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Robert Ramer, Ph.D., and Burkhard Hinz, Ph.D., from the University of Rostock in Germany, examined the effect of cannabinoids on the invasion of human cervical cancer cells in vitro.

The researchers found that cannabinoids significantly suppressed tumor invasion in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, which was accompanied by an increase in the expression of endogenous tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1). This suppression was reversed by inhibitors of cannabinoid receptors, inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinases, and knockdown of TIMP-1 expression.

"Increased expression of TIMP-1 mediates an anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids," Ramer and Hinz conclude. "Cannabinoids may therefore offer a therapeutic option in the treatment of highly invasive cancers."

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