Recent studies have unveiled the anti-tumor properties of various components found in cannabis across different models. However, little is known about the impact of these compounds, particularly in bladder cancer, and how they may interact with traditional chemotherapeutic agents. A study that was published in The Journal of Cannabis Research in 2022 investigated cannflavin A, a relatively understudied compound from Cannabis sativa, and its potential synergistic effects with gemcitabine, cisplatin, and cannabinoids in the context of bladder cancer treatment.
The primary objective of the study was to assess the effects of cannflavin A on bladder cancer cell lines and determine whether co-treatment with commonly used bladder cancer therapies, such as gemcitabine and cisplatin, could produce synergistic outcomes. Additionally, the study aimed to explore the synergistic effects of cannflavin A when combined with various cannabinoids.
Researchers utilized two transitional cell carcinoma cell lines to evaluate the cytotoxic effects of cannflavin A, testing concentrations up to 100 μM. The study also investigated potential synergies with gemcitabine (up to 100 nM), cisplatin (up to 100 μM), and cannabinoids (up to 10 μM). Apoptosis activation and the reduction of invasion were also assessed using annexin V and a Matrigel assay, respectively.
The concentration-dependent impact of cannflavin A on bladder cancer cell lines was observed, with differential responses when combined with gemcitabine or cisplatin—ranging from antagonistic to additive. Synergistic effects were noted in certain instances, dependent on the concentrations and drugs used. Cannflavin A exhibited the activation of apoptosis via caspase 3 cleavage and demonstrated a 50% reduction in invasion. Notably, synergistic properties were observed when cannflavin A was combined with cannabinoids like Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabichromene, and cannabivarin.
The findings highlight the cytotoxic potential of cannflavin A on bladder cancer cells and its ability to exert synergistic effects when combined with other therapeutic agents. Importantly, the study opens the door for further exploration of compounds in Cannabis sativa beyond cannabinoids for potential applications in bladder cancer treatment. While promising, the researchers emphasize the need for in vivo studies to validate cannflavin A as a viable candidate for bladder cancer therapy.