Chemotherapy forms the backbone of current treatments for many patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the survival rate is low in these patients due to the development of drug resistance, including cisplatin resistance. In this study, we developed a novel strategy to combat the growth of cisplatin-resistant (CR) NSCLC cells. We have shown that treatment with the plant-derived, non-psychotropic small molecular weight molecule, cannabidiol (CBD), significantly induced apoptosis of CR NSCLC cells. In addition, CBD treatment significantly reduced tumor progression and metastasis in a mouse xenograft model and suppressed cancer stem cell properties. Further mechanistic studies demonstrated the ability of CBD to inhibit the growth of CR cell lines by reducing NRF-2 and enhancing the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Moreover, we show that CBD acts through Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid-2 (TRPV2) to induce apoptosis, where TRPV2 is expressed on human lung adenocarcinoma tumors. High expression of TRPV2 correlates with better overall survival of lung cancer patients. Our findings identify CBD as a novel therapeutic agent targeting TRPV2 to inhibit the growth and metastasis of this aggressive cisplatin-resistant phenotype in NSCLC.
Keywords: TRPV2; apoptosis; cannabidiol; cisplatin resistance; non-small cell lung cancer.