Cannabinoids as potential new therapy for the treatment of gliomas

Expert Rev Neurother. 2008 Jan;8(1):37-49. doi: 10.1586/14737175.8.1.37.


Gliomas constitute the most frequent and malignant primary brain tumors. Current standard therapeutic strategies (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapeutics, e.g., temozolomide, carmustin or carboplatin) for their treatment are only palliative and survival diagnosis is normally 6-12 months. The development of new therapeutic strategies for the management of gliomas is therefore essential. Interestingly, cannabinoids have been shown to exert antiproliferative effects on a wide spectrum of cells in culture. Of interest, cannabinoids have displayed a great potency in reducing glioma tumor growth either in vitro or in animal experimental models, curbing the growth of xenografts generated by subcutaneous or intratecal injection of glioma cells in immune-deficient mice. Moreover, cannabinoids appear to be selective antitumoral agents as they kill glioma cells without affecting the viability of nontransformed counterparts. A pilot clinical trial on patients with glioblastoma multiforme demonstrated their good safety profile together and remarkable antitumor effects, and may set the basis for further studies aimed at better evaluating the potential anticancer activity of cannabinoids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Expert Testimony
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Risk


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cannabinoids