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Cannabidiol Negatively Regulates Androgenic Signal in Prostate Cancer Cells and Fine-Tunes the Tumorigenesis by Modulating Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation, Unfolded Protein Response, and Autophagy

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Cannabis sativa L., Cannabaceae, has been used as a herbal medicine for several thousand years in many cultures and it has more than 540 metabolites that provide therapeutic effects. Cannabinoids are the major compounds derived from the Cannabis species. There are over 120 isolated and identified cannabinoids from C. sativa and (−)-cannabidiol is one of the most well-researched among them. Recent studies have focused on the expanding usage of cannabidiol in many therapeutic areas as well as cancer. Studies demonstrated a negative correlation between cannabidiol administration and the growth of various cancer types, including prostate cancer. However, the detailed mode of action of cannabidiol on prostate cancer remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanism of cannabidiol prostate cancer cells. For this aim, we examined the effect of cannabidiol on autophagy, endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, unfolded protein response, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis, and androgenic signaling in vitro. We found that cannabidiol remarkably inhibited autophagy. Also, it strongly induced unfolded protein response and endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation mechanisms. Moreover, it exerted anti-cancer activity by reducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition and causing cell cycle arrest. Additionally, cannabidiol importantly disrupted androgenic signaling by affecting basal androgen receptor levels and inhibiting nuclear translocation of this receptor.

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Data Availability

The data generated in this study are available upon request from the corresponding author.


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We thank Suleyman Demirel University, Innovative Technologies Application and Research Center for equipmental support. We thank Dr. Ozlem Özmen (Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University) for allowing us to access the use of fluorescence microscope. We thank Dr. Fahri Saatcioglu (Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway) for providing the synthetic androgen R1881 and human prostate adenocarcinoma LNCaP cell line. We thank Hatice Kubra Dogan for their technical assistance.


This study was supported by Suleyman Demirel University internal funds (project nos.: TSG-2021–8302 and TAB-2020–8253).

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YE initiated and directed the project, designed and conducted the experiments, analyzed and interpreted the results. YE and DC wrote the manuscript. DC assisted with all experimental studies. SS provided cannabidiol. All authors have done a critical revision of the manuscript and approved the final submission.

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Correspondence to Yalcin Erzurumlu.

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Erzurumlu, Y., Catakli, D. & Sezer, S. Cannabidiol Negatively Regulates Androgenic Signal in Prostate Cancer Cells and Fine-Tunes the Tumorigenesis by Modulating Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation, Unfolded Protein Response, and Autophagy. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. 33, 316–325 (2023).

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