Determining Autophagic Activity Following Cannabidiol Treatment of Melanoma: A Potential New and Novel Treatment

October 10, 2016 - melanoma

Autophagy is a catabolic pathway utilized for energy metabolism in nutrient-depleted tumors. Recent studies have reported autophagy to be a survival mechanism found in cancer during stress secondary to cancer progression or treatment. In this study we tested for autophagic activity in malignant melanoma tumors via detection of LC3 antibody following treatment with Cannabidiol (CBD) and cisplatin. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of treatment with a cannabinoid derivative on autophagic activity in malignant melanoma.

Murine B16F10 melanoma tumors were established subcutaneously in C57BL/6 mice. These mice were then subjected to treatment with local vehicle (PBS) injection (control – group 1, n = 5), systemic Cisplatin injection (group 2; n = 5), and local cannabidiol injection (group 3; n = 5). Tumor cells were subsequently submitted to immunohistochemistry, Brightfield microscopy, and quantitative analysis (Bioquant) for LC3 expression.

The expression level of LC3 was significantly reduced in groups 2 and 3 when compared to the control group 1. Quantitative measurement of the slides using Bioquant software confirmed our immunohistochemistry and microscopic results.

If CBD does indeed decrease autophagic activity, it may represent a new and novel therapeutic target in the treatment of malignant melanoma. Additional studies to clarify the specific relationship between CBD and autophagy are in progress and will be reported upon completion.

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