Anandamide inhibits breast tumor-induced angiogenesis

Transl Med UniSa. 2014 Apr 8:10:8-12. eCollection 2014 Sep.


Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed malignancies and a leading cause of cancer death in women. Great advances in the treatment of primary tumors have led to a significant increment in the overall survival rates, however recurrence and metastatic disease, the underlying cause of death, are still a medical challenge. Breast cancer is highly dependent on neovascularization to progress. In the last years several anti-angiogenic drugs have been developed and administered to patients in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs. Collected preclinical evidence has proposed the endocannabinoid system as a potential target in cancer. The endocannabinoid anandamide has been reported to affect breast cancer growth at multiple levels, by inhibiting proliferation, migration and invasiveness in vitro and in vivo and by directly inhibiting angiogenesis. Aim of the present work is to investigate if anandamide is able to affect the proangiogenic phenotype of the highly invasive and metastatic breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231. We found that following anandamide treatment, MDAMB-231 cells lose their ability to stimulate endothelial cells proliferation in vitro, due to a significant inhibition of all the pro-angiogenic factors produced by these cells. This finding adds another piece of evidence to the anti-tumor efficacy of anandamide in breast cancer.

Keywords: anandamide; angiogenesis; breast cancer; endocannabinoid system.