Cannabis Treats Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Study Says
For a woman, few things can strip you off your dignity than a breast cancer diagnosis. Statistics say that around 1 in every 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. In 2018 alone, there were 268,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer, on top of 63,960 cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
These shocking statistics just go to show how important and critical it is to find a cure as soon as possible.
Upon receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, pathology reports will say that the breast cancer cells test negative for one of four scenarios: estrogen receptors (ER-), progesterone receptors (PR-), and HER2. The most aggressive form of breast cancer is when the pathology report reads triple-negative, which means that you test negative for all three.
These results mean that the growth of the cancer is no longer supported by the estrogen and progesterone hormones, nor the HER2 receptors. For this reason, triple-negative breast cancer doesn’t respond to hormonal therapies that target the receptors, or chemicals that are used to kill cancer cells. It is estimated that around 10-20% of breast cancer cases come out to be triple-negative.
Depending on the stage of a triple-negative breast cancer case, doctors will recommend certain medications. However, unlike other forms of breast cancer, there is still no form of targeted treatment available for triple-negative breast cancer; but doctors usually recommend a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery due to its aggressive nature. In some cases, mastectomy may be recommended.
Cannabis As Hope For Triple Negative Breast Cancer Patients
A brand-new study that has just been published in the journal, Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy revealed that cannabinoids do inhibit the tumor growth among triple-negative breast cancer cases where other forms of treatment have failed.
The study reads: “Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the deadliest form of breast cancer because compared with other types of breast cancer, it is more aggressive, diagnosed at later stage and more likely to develop recurrence.” It also says that most patients “do not experience adequate tumor control after current clinical treatments involving surgical removal, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, leading to disease progression and significantly decreased quality of life.”
The researchers “report a new combinatory therapy strategy involving cannabinoid-based medicine and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of TNBC.” Their findings reveal that, “This combinatory approach provides new opportunities to treat TNBC with high efficacy. In addition, this study proves new evidence on the therapeutic potential of CB2R agonists for cancer.”
Additionally, a January 2015 study published in Molecular Oncology detailed how CBD supports the fight against triple-negative breast cancer. The researchers found that CBD works by inhibiting the epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its related receptors, thereby resulting in a great reduction when it came to the migration, proliferation, and invasion of these aggressive breast cancer cells. CBD was also found to decrease the inflammatory cytokines that are released by breast cancer cells as well as 2 matrix inflammatory cytokines which have been linked to metastasis.
The researchers’ findings then suggest that CBD is effective in modulating the tumor’s microenvironment to stop its spread by working on several mechanisms.
Another study published one month later in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry revealed that synthetic cannabinoids were effective in inducing programmed cell death in triple negative breast cancer cell lines by activating the CB2 receptors. When the synthetic cannabinoid was administered to normal tissue, it revealed no harmful or toxic effects. Because THC is responsible for activating CB2 receptors and CBD works similarly to it, they concluded that these phytocannabinoids may, in theory, stop triple negative breast cancer in its tracks.
The ability of cannabis and its valuable cannabinoids to kill tumor growth is nothing new. However, it remains important to spread information about how it can help breast cancer patients, but more importantly, raise awareness on early detection. While there have been many cases of women successfully using cannabis products to treat breast cancer, there is simply not enough known about how it can help triple-negative breast cancer cases, the most aggressive of all. Breast cancer is a serious condition, and it’s high time we treat it like the serious disease it is and help our loved ones beat it.