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Curcumin synergizes with the endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitor OMDM-2 in human MCF-7 breast cancer and U-87 glioblastoma cells

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Abstract

Introduction Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), active constituent of Cannabis sativa L., possesses potential antitumor activity. Modulating the endogenous level of cannabinoids could be a sensible strategy to avoid adverse events presently limiting the use of direct agonists. We investigated the cytotoxicity of endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitor OMDM-2 alone and in combination with the polyphenol curcumin, an active compound of Curcuma longa L. Methods The in-vitro anti-proliferative activities of OMDM-2 alone/in combination with curcumin were evaluated in breast cancer (MCF-7) and glioblastoma (U-87) cells using the resazurin assay. The effect of curcumin on OMDM-2 was determined by comparing different inhibitory concentrations (IC) values of OMDM-2 in absence and presence of curcumin. The additive, synergistic or antagonistic activity of the combination was evaluated by the combination index (CI) and isobologram analyses. Results OMDM-2 by itself showed anti-proliferative effects against both MCF-7 and U-87 cells in a dose dependent manner with IC50 values of 4.9 μM and 2.7 μM respectively. Isobol and CI analyses at different dose ratios revealed that the drug interaction was predominantly synergistic against MCF-7 cells (CI ≤ 0.5 at IC50). While in case of glioblastoma cells CI values varied between <0.2 up to 1.1 at IC70 depending on the ratio and concentration of the drugs. Conclusion These findings provide experimental support for the use of curcumin as a modulator of tumor cell pharmacointeraction in cannabinoid based therapies. To achieve synergism dose ratios should be established for each cell type and ratiometric dosing be considered.

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Endocannabinoid signaling has been shown to be enhanced in several cancer tissues and malignant cells, and studies in cell lines have shown that this up-regulation might serve the purpose of providing transformed cells with a further means to inhibit their proliferation. Here we investigated the effect of inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation on the growth of rat thyroid tumor xenografts induced in athymic mice. VDM-11, a selective inhibitor of endocannabinoid cellular re-uptake, and arachidonoyl-serotonin (AA-5-HT), a selective blocker of endocannabinoid enzymatic hydrolysis, both inhibited the growth in vivo of tumor xenografts induced by the subcutaneous injection of rat thyroid transformed (KiMol) cells. This effect was accompanied by significantly enhanced endocannabinoid concentrations in the tumors excised at the end of the in vivo experiments. Endocannabinoids, as well as VDM-11 and AA-5-HT, inhibited the growth in vitro of the transformed rat thyroid cells used to induce the tumors in vivo, and their effect was reversed at least in part by the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716A. This compound, however, when administered alone, did not enhance, but instead slightly inhibited, the growth of rat thyroid transformed cells both in vitro and in tumor xenografts induced in vivo. These findings indicate that endocannabinoids tonically control tumor growth in vivo by both CB1-mediated and non-CB1-mediated mechanisms and that, irrespective of the molecular mechanism of their anti-proliferative action, inhibitors of their inactivation might be used for the development of novel anti-cancer drugs.
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Brain tumors classified as glioblastomas have proven refractory to treatment and generally result in death within a year of diagnosis. We used seven in vitro tests and one in vivo trial to compare the efficacy of nine different viruses for targeting human glioblastoma. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing vesicular stomatitis (VSV), Sindbis virus, pseudorabies virus (PRV), adeno-associated virus (AAV), and minute virus of mice i-strain (MVMi) and MVMp all infected glioblastoma cells. Mouse and human cytomegalovirus, and simian virus 40 showed only low levels of infection or GFP expression. VSV and Sindbis virus showed strong cytolytic actions and high rates of replication and spread, leading to an elimination of glioblastoma. PRV and both MVM strains generated more modest lytic effects and replication capacity. VSV showed a similar oncolytic profile on U-87 MG and M059J glioblastoma. In contrast, Sindbis virus showed strong preference for U-87 MG, whereas MVMi and MVMp preferred M059J. Sindbis virus and both MVM strains showed highly tumor-selective actions in glioblastoma plus fibroblast coculture. VSV and Sindbis virus were serially passaged on glioblastoma cells; we isolated a variant, VSV-rp30, that had increased selectivity and lytic capacity in glioblastoma cells. VSV and Sindbis virus were very effective at replicating, spreading within, and selectively killing human glioblastoma in an in vivo mouse model, whereas PRV and AAV remained at the injection site with minimal spread. Together, these data suggest that four (VSV, Sindbis virus, MVMi, and MVMp) of the nine viruses studied merit further analysis for potential therapeutic actions on glioblastoma.
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Delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids inhibit tumour growth and angiogenesis in animal models, so their potential application as antitumoral drugs has been suggested. However, the antitumoral effect of cannabinoids has never been tested in humans. Here we report the first clinical study aimed at assessing cannabinoid antitumoral action, specifically a pilot phase I trial in which nine patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme were administered THC intratumoraly. The patients had previously failed standard therapy (surgery and radiotherapy) and had clear evidence of tumour progression. The primary end point of the study was to determine the safety of intracranial THC administration. We also evaluated THC action on the length of survival and various tumour-cell parameters. A dose escalation regimen for THC administration was assessed. Cannabinoid delivery was safe and could be achieved without overt psychoactive effects. Median survival of the cohort from the beginning of cannabinoid administration was 24 weeks (95% confidence interval: 15-33). Delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibited tumour-cell proliferation in vitro and decreased tumour-cell Ki67 immunostaining when administered to two patients. The fair safety profile of THC, together with its possible antiproliferative action on tumour cells reported here and in other studies, may set the basis for future trials aimed at evaluating the potential antitumoral activity of cannabinoids.
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Background: Curcumin has a wide range of pharmacological activities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antibacterial, wound healing, antiatherosclerotic, hepatoprotective and anti-carcinogenic. However, its clinical applications are limited owing to its poor aqueous solubility, multidrug pump P-gp efflux, extensive in vivo metabolism and rapid elimination due to glucuronidation/sulfation. Purpose: The objective of the current work was to prepare novel curcumin loaded mixed micelles (CUR-MM) of Pluronic F-127 (PF127) and Gelucire(®) 44/14 (GL44) in order to enhance its oral bioavailability and cytotoxicity in human lung cancer cell line A549. Study design: 3(2) Factorial design was used to assess the effect of formulation variables for optimization of mixed micelle batch. Methods: CUR-MM was prepared by a solvent evaporation method. The optimized CUR-MM was evaluated for size, entrapment efficiency (EE), in vitro curcumin release, cytotoxicity and oral bioavailability in rats. Results: The average size of CUR-MM was found to be around 188 ± 3 nm with an EE of about 76.45 ± 1.18% w/w. In vitro dissolution profile of CUR-MM revealed controlled release of curcumin. Additionally, CUR-MM showed significant improvement in cytotoxic activity (3-folds) and oral bioavailability (around 55-folds) of curcumin as compared to curcumin alone. Such significant improvement in cytotoxic activity and oral bioavailability of curcumin when formulated into mixed micelles could be attributed to solubilization of hydrophobic curcumin into micelle core along with P-gp inhibition effect of both, PF127 and GL44. Conclusion: Thus the present work propose the formulation of mixed micelles of PF127 and GL44 which can act as promising carrier systems for hydrophobic drugs such as curcumin with significant improvement in their oral bioavailability.
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A large body of evidence shows that cannabinoids, in addition to their well-known palliative effects on some cancer-associated symptoms, can reduce tumour growth in animal models of cancer. They do so by modulating key cell signalling pathways involved in the control of cancer cell proliferation and survival. In addition, cannabinoids inhibit angiogenesis and cell proliferation in different types of tumours in laboratory animals. By contrast, little is known about the biological role of the endocannabinoid system in cancer physio-pathology, and several studies suggest that it may be over-activated in cancer. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of cannabinoids as antitumour agents, focusing on recent advances in the molecular mechanisms of action, including resistance mechanisms and opportunities for combination therapy approaches.
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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a popular Indian spice that has been used for centuries in herbal medicines for the treatment of a variety of ailments such as rheumatism, diabetic ulcers, anorexia, cough and sinusitis. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the main curcuminoid present in turmeric and responsible for its yellow color. Curcumin has been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anticoagulant and anti-infective effects. This review summarizes and discusses recently published papers on the key biomedical applications of curcumin based materials. The highlighted studies in the review provide evidence of the ability of curcumin to show the significant vitro antioxidant, diabetic complication, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, anti-cancer activities and detection of hypochlorous acid, wound healing, treatment of major depression, healing of paracentesis, and treatment of carcinoma and optical detection of pyrrole properties. Hydrophobic nature of this polyphenolic compound along with its rapid metabolism, physicochemical and biological instability contribute to its poor bioavailability. To redress these problems several approaches have been proposed like encapsulation of curcumin in liposomes and polymeric micelles, inclusion complex formation with cyclodextrin, formation of polymer-curcumin conjugates, etc.
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In spite of increasingly improved treatment options breast cancer remains a severe life threatening disease. Major challenges in cancer chemotherapies of today are increasing health care costs, the effect of anticancer drugs on healthier cells, complex multiple interconnected nodes of cell signaling and multidrug resistance. Recently piperine, a major bioactive constituent of black and long pepper (Piper nigrum L., Piper longum L.) was reported to support the reduction of lung cancer in mice, but also enhance the bioavailability of paclitaxel in healthy volunteers. These results led us to hypothesize that piperine may not only improve the bioavailability of paclitaxel but may potentiate the antitumor effect of paclitaxel. We investigated the effect of paclitaxel and piperine on MCF-7 cells alone and in combination. The IC50 values for a 24 h exposure to paclitaxel were 0.22 ± 0.003 μM and to piperine 1.21 ± 0.21 μM. These IC50 values allowed a constant ratio (1:5) design for the assessment of drug combinations. Cells were either exposed concomitantly for 24 h or sequentially (piperine 24 h, paclitaxel 24 h). Both, the isobologram and the combination index (CI) indicated synergistic effects. The CI values for the concomitant exposure exhibited at the IC50 level with 0.58 ± 0.03 synergism and at the IC70 level with 0.77 ± 0.046 moderate synergism; for sequential exposure, the CI value indicated at IC50 (0.78 ± 0.022) moderate synergism and at IC70 (0.95 ± 0.032) a nearly additive effect. The concomitant exposure was superior to a sequential exposure. The combination of paclitaxel and piperine should be further investigated in vitro and in vivo.
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In 1964, the psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis sativa, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was isolated. Nearly 30 years later the endogenous counterparts of THC, collectively termed endocannabinoids (eCBs), were discovered: N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) (AEA) in 1992 and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in 1995. Since then, considerable research has shed light on the impact of eCBs on human health and disease, identifying an ensemble of proteins that bind, synthesize, and degrade them and that together form the eCB system (ECS). eCBs control basic biological processes including cell choice between survival and death and progenitor/stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Unsurprisingly, in the past two decades eCBs have been recognized as key mediators of several aspects of human pathophysiology and thus have emerged to be among the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules ever discovered. Here some of the pioneers of this research field review the state of the art of critical eCB functions in peripheral organs. Our community effort is aimed at establishing consensus views on the relevance of the peripheral ECS for human health and disease pathogenesis, as well as highlighting emerging challenges and therapeutic hopes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Plants are a precious source for medicine and drug development. An estimated one third of our present medicines are derived from natural sources – either directly isolated, synthesized or semi-synthesized by structural modification of their natural compounds. Well known examples are colchicine, morphine, semi-synthetic aspirin, taxol or penicillin. However, drug development from natural sources as well as by synthesis is presently facing a set back. Most new drugs fail in the step from the preclinic to the clinic; equally a loss of activity is observed during the bioactivity screening of plant extracts for the identification of active single constituents. The source material has often a superior activity over the isolated single constituents which give reasons to doubt whether a single active principle is present. These developments are paralleled by deeper insights into the pathophysiology of chronic and/or severe diseases. They are usually multifactorial and require a multitarget treatment. Drug combinations have become routine in the treatment of cancer, HIV or cardiovascular diseases. The selected drug combinations are based on the known mode of actions of each single drug. Their combinations in vivo are mainly empirical. Systematic screening of combinations of already approved drugs has started only recently. The potential of combining phytomedicine or natural products with synthetic drugs or introducing these into conventional treatment regimes are not yet systematically explored. This review presents recent examples of combination screenings. The screening for synergetic effects of such combinations is technically demanding and complex, also in the context of drug–herb interactions, but likely to substantially advance pharmacotherapy and future medicine.
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Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is a pivotal event leading to extracellular matrix (ECM) overproduction during hepatic fibrogenesis. Compelling evidence indicates that cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) play an important role in chronic liver disease. Antagonism of hepatic CBR type 1 (CBR1) could be novel therapeutic strategies for liver fibrosis. Our previous studies have demonstrated that curcumin has potent antifibrotic activity, but the mechanisms remain to be elucidated. The current work was to examine the curcumin effect on CBRs system and its relevance to inhibition of ECM expression in HSCs. Our in vivo data demonstrated that curcumin ameliorated fibrotic injury, and downregulated CBR1 but upregulated CBR2 at both mRNA and protein levels in rat fibrotic liver caused by carbon tetrachloride. The subsequent in vitro investigations showed that curcumin reduced the mRNA and protein abundance of CBR1 in cultured HSCs and decreased the expression of three critical ECM proteins. Further analyses revealed that CBR1 agonist abrogated the curcumin inhibition of ECM expression, but CBR1 antagonist mimicked and reinforced the curcumin effects. Autodock simulations predicted that curcumin could bind to CBR1 with two hydrogen bonds. Collectively, our current studies revealed that curcumin reduction of liver fibrosis was associated with modulation of CBRs system and that antagonism of CBR1 contributed to curcumin inhibition of ECM expression.
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Breast cancer is a major health problem in both developing and developed countries. It is the most frequently diagnosed female malignant disease in Arab populations. The incidence of breast cancer is lower in Arab countries than in Europe and the USA but is rising fast. Breast cancers in women from Arab populations have different characteristics to those reported in individuals from Europe and the USA. For example, affected patients are at least a decade younger, they have a more advanced stage of disease at first presentation, and their tumour size is larger. Moreover, in some Arab populations, reports suggest increased axillary-lymph-node invasion, a larger proportion of negative hormone receptors, and a higher tumour grade. These disparities are not only confined to clinicopathological features but also exist at the molecular level, as shown by findings of genome-wide association studies and expression profiling.
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Changes in lipid metabolism are intimately related to cancer. Several classes of bioactive lipids play roles in the regulation of signaling pathways involved in neoplastic transformation and tumor growth and progression. The endocannabinoid system, comprising lipid-derived endocannabinoids, their G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and the enzymes for their metabolism, is emerging as a promising therapeutic target in cancer. This report highlights the main signaling pathways for the antitumor effects of the endocannabinoid system in cancer and its basic role in cancer pathogenesis, and discusses the alternative view of cannabinoid receptors as tumor promoters. We focus on new players in the antitumor action of the endocannabinoid system and on emerging crosstalk among cannabinoid receptors and other membrane or nuclear receptors involved in cancer. We also discuss the enzyme MAGL, a key player in endocannabinoid metabolism that was recently recognized as a marker of tumor lipogenic phenotype.
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Curcumin, the major constituent of the spice tumeric produces a plethora of biological actions that have translated in vivo into behavioral and neurochemical effects in rodents that are also produced by clinically-used antidepressants. The present study was designed to provide a systematic replication of prior behavioral, pharmacological, and neurochemical experiments. In particular, the ability of curcumin to engender ani-immobility effects in the mouse forced-swim assay was established. Although prior work had shown curcumin to function as an inhibitor of the monoamine metabolizing enzyme, monoamine oxidase (MAO), neither MAOA nor MAOB was inhibitied by curcumin in the present study. Curcumin had also been reported previously to function as a cannabinoid CB1 receptor inverse agonist/antagonist. However, in our hands, curcumin did not potently alter GTP--35S binding indicative of functional CB1 antagonism (Kb = 2080 nM). Moreover, curcumin was not able to prevent the hypothermic effects of the cannabinoid receptor agonist (-)-cis-3-[2-Hydroxy-4-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)phenyl]-trans-4-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexanol (CP 55,940). Nonetheless, the anti-immobility effects of curcumin did not occur in CB1 -/- mice. Finally, a broad array of protein receptors and enzymes were evaluated in vitro for their potential interaction with and/or functional engagement with curcumin. Of the more than 100 targets screened, curcumin had very low potency in most. Of those targets with appreciable activity, curcumin had affinities for the human cloned muscarinic receptor subtypes (Ki = 1.3-3.1 uM). Moreover, the plasma and brain levels of curcumin at behaviorally-active doses were below quantitative limits. Given these findings, it is concluded that the prominent antidepressant-like behavioral effects of curcumin, replicated here and in multiple acute and chronic rodent models detailed in the literature, are the result of as yet undisclosed mechanisms of action. The scientific and patient communities await the full scale clinical evaluation of a sufficiently bioavailable curcumin analog in major depressive disorder.
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Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the United States in the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival based on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. A total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States in 2013. During the most recent 5 years for which there are data (2005-2009), delay-adjusted cancer incidence rates declined slightly in men (by 0.6% per year) and were stable in women, while cancer death rates decreased by 1.8% per year in men and by 1.5% per year in women. Overall, cancer death rates have declined 20% from their peak in 1991 (215.1 per 100,000 population) to 2009 (173.1 per 100,000 population). Death rates continue to decline for all 4 major cancer sites (lung, colorectum, breast, and prostate). Over the past 10 years of data (2000-2009), the largest annual declines in death rates were for chronic myeloid leukemia (8.4%), cancers of the stomach (3.1%) and colorectum (3.0%), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (3.0%). The reduction in overall cancer death rates since 1990 in men and 1991 in women translates to the avoidance of approximately 1.18 million deaths from cancer, with 152,900 of these deaths averted in 2009 alone. Further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population, with an emphasis on those groups in the lowest socioeconomic bracket and other underserved populations. CA Cancer J Clin 2013;. © 2013 American Cancer Society.
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Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among females worldwide. It signifies a shift from the previous decade during which the most common cause of cancer death was cervical cancer. Current treatment modalities, including surgery, radiotherapy, and adjuvant chemotherapy or hormone therapy, have not been successful enough to impart significant improvement in the morbidity or mortality of breast cancer. This cancer is highly resistant to chemotherapy as no effective treatment exists for advanced disease conditions. Moreover, there is a dearth of ideal protein biomarkers of breast cancer in plasma or serum that can be used with desired sensitivity and specificity. Along with the existing therapeutic modalities of breast cancer the focus of researchers and clinicians have shifted towards the exploration of the preventive and therapeutic uses of natural products, including dietary phytoconstituents. Curcumin, the principal active component of Indian curry spice turmeric, has been found to exert preventive and therapeutic effects in various cancers. This is, in part, due to its ability to influence a diverse range of molecular targets and signaling pathways. The ability of curcumin to enhance the efficacy of existing chemotherapeutic agents is an added advantage. The current review critically analyzes various aspects of curcumin-related research conducted for molecular understanding of its efficacy in in vitro and in vivo models of breast cancer. The article also highlights recent developments with synthetic analogs of curcumin and nanocurcumin which are in the horizon of next generation targeted therapy with curcumin in breast cancer.
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Cannabinoids - the active components of Cannabis sativa and their derivatives - exert palliative effects in cancer patients by preventing nausea, vomiting and pain and by stimulating appetite. In addition, these compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumour cells in culture and animal models by modulating key cell-signalling pathways. Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies. So, could cannabinoids be used to develop new anticancer therapies?
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Increasing interest has recently been attracted towards the identification of natural compounds including those with antidepressant properties. Curcumin has shown promising antidepressant effect, however, its molecular target(s) have not been well defined. Based on the interaction between the neurotrophins and endocannabinoid system as well as their contribution to the emotional reactivity and antidepressant action, here we show that 4-week treatment with curcumin, similar to the classical antidepressant amitriptyline, results in the sustained elevation of brain nerve growth factor (NGF) and endocannabinoids in dose-dependent and brain region-specific fashion. Pretreatment with cannabinoid CB(1) receptor neutral antagonist AM4113, but not the CB(2) antagonist SR144528, prevents the enhancement of brain NGF contents. AM4113 exerts no effect by itself. Our findings by presenting the CB(1) receptor-mediated endocannabinoid signaling and NGF as novel targets for curcumin, suggest that more attention should be focused on the therapeutic potential of herbal medicines including curcumin.
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The endocannabinoid system consists of an array of endogenously produced bioactive lipids that activate cannabinoid receptors. Although the primary focus of endocannabinoid biology has been on neurological and psychiatric effects, recent work has revealed several important interactions between the endocannabinoid system and cancer. Several different types of cancer have abnormal regulation of the endocannabinoid system that contributes to cancer progression and correlates to clinical outcomes. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system by pharmacological agents in various cancer types reveals that it can mediate antiproliferative and apoptotic effects by both cannabinoid receptor-dependent and -independent pathways. Selective agonists and antagonists of the cannabinoid receptors, inhibitors of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and cannabinoid analogs have been utilized to probe the pathways involved in the effects of the endocannabinoid system on cancer cell apoptosis, proliferation, migration, adhesion, and invasion. The antiproliferative and apoptotic effects produced by some of these pharmacological probes reveal that the endocannabinoid system is a promising new target for the development of novel chemotherapeutics to treat cancer.
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In this article, the American Cancer Society provides an overview of female breast cancer statistics in the United States, including trends in incidence, mortality, survival, and screening. Approximately 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 39,520 breast cancer deaths are expected to occur among US women in 2011. Breast cancer incidence rates were stable among all racial/ethnic groups from 2004 to 2008. Breast cancer death rates have been declining since the early 1990s for all women except American Indians/Alaska Natives, among whom rates have remained stable. Disparities in breast cancer death rates are evident by state, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity. While significant declines in mortality rates were observed for 36 states and the District of Columbia over the past 10 years, rates for 14 states remained level. Analyses by county-level poverty rates showed that the decrease in mortality rates began later and was slower among women residing in poor areas. As a result, the highest breast cancer death rates shifted from the affluent areas to the poor areas in the early 1990s. Screening rates continue to be lower in poor women compared with non-poor women, despite much progress in increasing mammography utilization. In 2008, 51.4% of poor women had undergone a screening mammogram in the past 2 years compared with 72.8% of non-poor women. Encouraging patients aged 40 years and older to have annual mammography and a clinical breast examination is the single most important step that clinicians can take to reduce suffering and death from breast cancer. Clinicians should also ensure that patients at high risk of breast cancer are identified and offered appropriate screening and follow-up. Continued progress in the control of breast cancer will require sustained and increased efforts to provide high-quality screening, diagnosis, and treatment to all segments of the population.
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Estimates of the worldwide incidence and mortality from 27 cancers in 2008 have been prepared for 182 countries as part of the GLOBOCAN series published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In this article, we present the results for 20 world regions, summarizing the global patterns for the eight most common cancers. Overall, an estimated 12.7 million new cancer cases and 7.6 million cancer deaths occur in 2008, with 56% of new cancer cases and 63% of the cancer deaths occurring in the less developed regions of the world. The most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide are lung (1.61 million, 12.7% of the total), breast (1.38 million, 10.9%) and colorectal cancers (1.23 million, 9.7%). The most common causes of cancer death are lung cancer (1.38 million, 18.2% of the total), stomach cancer (738,000 deaths, 9.7%) and liver cancer (696,000 deaths, 9.2%). Cancer is neither rare anywhere in the world, nor mainly confined to high-resource countries. Striking differences in the patterns of cancer from region to region are observed.
Article
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), the yellow pigment in Indian saffron (Curcuma longa; also called turmeric, haldi, or haridara in the East and curry powder in the West), has been consumed by people for centuries as a dietary component and for a variety of proinflammatory ailments. Extensive research within the last decade in cell culture and in rodents has revealed that curcumin can sensitize tumors to different chemotherapeutic agents including doxorubicin, 5-FU, paclitaxel, vincristine, melphalan, butyrate, cisplatin, celecoxib, vinorelbine, gemcitabine, oxaliplatin, etoposide, sulfinosine, thalidomide, and bortezomib. Chemosensitization has been observed in cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas, gastric, liver, blood, lung, prostate, bladder, cervix, ovary, head and neck, and brain and in multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma. Similar studies have also revealed that this agent can sensitize a variety of tumors to gamma radiation including glioma, neuroblastoma, cervical carcinoma, epidermal carcinoma, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. How curcumin acts as a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer has also been studied extensively. For example, it downregulates various growth regulatory pathways and specific genetic targets including genes for NF-κB, STAT3, COX2, Akt, antiapoptotic proteins, growth factor receptors, and multidrug-resistance proteins. Although it acts as a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumors in some cases, curcumin has also been shown to protect normal organs such as liver, kidney, oral mucosa, and heart from chemotherapy and radiotherapy-induced toxicity. The protective effects of curcumin appear to be mediated through its ability to induce the activation of NRF2 and induce the expression of antioxidant enzymes (e.g., hemeoxygenase-1, glutathione peroxidase, modulatory subunit of gamma-glutamyl-cysteine ligase, and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1, increase glutathione (a product of the modulatory subunit of gamma-glutamyl-cysteine ligase), directly quench free radicals, and inhibit p300 HAT activity. These preclinical studies are expected to lead to clinical trials to prove the potential of this age-old golden spice for treating cancer patients.
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Curcumin, commonly called diferuloyl methane, is a hydrophobic polyphenol derived from rhizome (turmeric) of the herb Curcuma longa. Extensive research over the last half century has revealed important functions of curcumin. In vitro and in vivo research has shown various activities, such as anti-inflammatory, cytokines release, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, enhancing of the apoptotic process, and anti-angiogenic properties. Curcumin has also been shown to be a mediator of chemo-resistance and radio-resistance. The anti-cancer effect has been seen in a few clinical trials, mainly as a native chemoprevention agent in colon and pancreatic cancer, cervical neoplasia and Barrets metaplasia. Some clinical studies with healthy volunteers revealed a low bioavailability of curcumin, casting doubt on the use of curcumin only as food additive. Our clinical experience with curcumin, along with the anti-metabolite gemcitabine in the treatment of patients with advanced pancreatic carcinoma, produced an objective response in less than 10% of patients, with a minor effect on survival. However, the safety of this combination was proved. Curcumin's potent anti-proliferative activity interacting with several intracellular signal transduction pathways may potentiate the anti-tumor effect of gemcitabine. The preclinical data lead to various, but still scarce, clinical studies (some on-going) that demonstrated the possible efficacy of this treatment as a chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic agent. This review will focus on the clinical evidence, including our experience with curcumin as a chemopreventive and therapeutic agent and the in vitro background results.
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The longstanding, successful use of herbal drug combinations in traditional medicine makes it necessary to find a rationale for the pharmacological and therapeutic superiority of many of them in comparison to isolated single constituents. This review describes many examples of how modern molecular-biological methods (including new genomic technologies) can enable us to understand the various synergistic mechanisms underlying these effects. Synergistic effects can be produced if the constituents of an extract affect different targets or interact with one another in order to improve the solubility and thereby enhance the bioavailability of one or several substances of an extract. A special synergy effect can occur when antibiotics are combined with an agent that antagonizes bacterial resistance mechanisms. The verification of real synergy effects can be achieved through detailed pharmacological investigations and by means of controlled clinical studies performed in comparison with synthetic reference drugs. All the new ongoing projects aim at the development of a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals which can be used alone or in combination with synthetic drugs or antibiotics. This new generation of phytopharmaceuticals could lend phytotherapy a new legitimacy and enable their use to treat diseases which have hitherto been treated using synthetic drugs alone.
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Knowledge of the endogenous cannabinoid system has expanded greatly during the past years. After the discovery of the cannabinoid receptors, of their endogenous agonists and of the proteins for their synthesis and inactivation, significant progress has been made towards the understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system in vital functions. Subsequently, an increasing number of papers has been published on the biochemistry and pharmacology of endocannabinoids. This article overviews the endocannabinoid signalling system with focus on its biochemical aspects. In particular we review the mechanisms for the biosynthesis and inactivation of the endocannabinoids, as well as the various molecular targets for some of the endocannabinoids described so far.
Article
Turmeric (Curcuma longa rhizomes), commonly used as a spice is well documented for its medicinal properties in Indian and Chinese systems of medicine. It has been widely used for the treatment of several diseases. Epidemiological observations, though inconclusive, are suggestive that turmeric consumption may reduce the risk of some form of cancers and render other protective biological effects in humans. These biological effects of turmeric have been attributed to its constituent curcumin that has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, anti-oxidant, wound healing and anti-cancer effects. As a result of extensive epidemiological, clinical, and animal studies several molecular mechanisms are emerging that elucidate multiple biological effects of curcumin. This review summarizes the most interesting in vitro and in vivo studies on the biological effects of curcumin.
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Novel aromatic analogues of N-oleoylethanolamine and N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA) were synthesized and, based on the capability of similar compounds to interact with proteins of the endocannabinoid and endovanilloid signaling systems, were tested on: (i) cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors; (ii) vanilloid VR1 receptors; (iii) anandamide cellular uptake (ACU); and (iv) the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). The (R)- and, particularly, the (S)-1'-(4-hydroxybenzyl) derivatives of N-oleoylethanolamine and AEA (OMDM-1, OMDM-2, OMDM-3, and OMDM-4) inhibited to a varied extent ACU in RBL-2H3 cells (K(i) ranging between 2.4 and 17.7 micro M), the oleoyl analogues (OMDM-1 and OMDM-2, K(i) 2.4 and 3.0 micro M, respectively) being 6- to 7-fold more potent than the arachidonoyl analogues (OMDM-3 and OMDM-4). These four compounds exhibited: (i) poor affinity for either CB(1) (K(i)> or = 5 micro M) or CB(2) (K(i)>10 micro M) receptors in rat brain and spleen membranes, respectively; (ii) almost no activity at vanilloid receptors in the intracellular calcium assay carried out with intact cells over-expressing the human VR1 (EC(50)> or = 10 micro M); and (iii) no activity as inhibitors of FAAH in N18TG2 cell membranes (K(i)>50 micro M). The oleoyl- and arachidonoyl-N'-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)hydrazines (OMDM-5 and OMDM-6), inhibited ACU (K(i) 4.8 and 7.0 micro M, respectively), and were more potent as VR1 agonists (EC(50) 75 and 50nM, respectively), weakly active as CB(1) receptor ligands (K(i) 4.9 and 3.2 micro M, respectively), and inactive as CB(2) ligands (K(i)>5 micro M) as well as on FAAH (K(i)> or = 40 micro M). In conclusion, we report two novel potent and selective inhibitors of ACU (OMDM-1 and OMDM-2) and one "hybrid" agonist of CB(1) and VR1 receptors (OMDM-6). Unlike other compounds of the same type, OMDM-1, OMDM-2, and OMDM-6 were very stable to enzymatic hydrolysis by rat brain homogenates.
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It has been proposed that cannabinoids are involved in the control of cell fate. Thus, these compounds can modulate proliferation, differentiation, and survival in different manners depending on the cell type and its physiopathologic context. However, little is known about the effect of cannabinoids on the cell cycle, the main process controlling cell fate. Here, we show that Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), through activation of CB(2) cannabinoid receptors, reduces human breast cancer cell proliferation by blocking the progression of the cell cycle and by inducing apoptosis. In particular, THC arrests cells in G(2)-M via down-regulation of Cdc2, as suggested by the decreased sensitivity to THC acquired by Cdc2-overexpressing cells. Of interest, the proliferation pattern of normal human mammary epithelial cells was much less affected by THC. We also analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR the expression of CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptors in a series of human breast tumor and nontumor samples. We found a correlation between CB(2) expression and histologic grade of the tumors. There was also an association between CB(2) expression and other markers of prognostic and predictive value, such as estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and ERBB2/HER-2 oncogene. Importantly, no significant CB(2) expression was detected in nontumor breast tissue. Taken together, these data might set the bases for a cannabinoid therapy for the management of breast cancer.