Altered mRNA Expression of Genes Involved in Endocannabinoid Signalling in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Tongue

Cancer Invest. 2019;37(8):327-338. doi: 10.1080/07357907.2019.1638394. Epub 2019 Aug 19.


Little is known about the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue (SCCOT). Here we have investigated, at the mRNA level, expression of genes coding for the components of the eCB system in tumour and non-malignant samples from SCCOT patients. Expression of NAPEPLD and PLA2G4E, coding for eCB anabolic enzymes, was higher in the tumour tissue than in non-malignant tissue. Among genes coding for eCB catabolic enzymes, expression of MGLL was lower in tumour tissue while PTGS2 was increased. It is concluded that the eCB system may be dysfunctional in SCCOT.

Keywords: -acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine phospholipase D; Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue; cyclooxygenase-2; endocannabinoids; monoacylglycerol lipase.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • Endocannabinoids / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Group IV Phospholipases A2 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases / genetics
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phospholipase D / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / genetics*
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck / pathology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Endocannabinoids
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • MGLL protein, human
  • Monoacylglycerol Lipases
  • Group IV Phospholipases A2
  • PLA2G4E protein, human
  • Phospholipase D
  • NAPEPLD protein, human