UC San Diego Health Sciences study finds how marijuana accelerates HPV-related head and neck cancer
Published - 01/22/20 - 09:00 AM | 4811 views | 58 58 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print

University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have identified the molecular mechanism activated by the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the ingredient that causes people to feel the euphoria or “high” associated with cannabis — in the bloodstream that accelerates cancer growth in patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

“HPV-related head and neck cancer is one of the fastest-growing cancers in the United States. While at the same time, exposure to marijuana is accelerating. This is a huge public health problem,” said Joseph A. Califano III, MD, senior author and professor and vice chief of the Division of Otolaryngology in the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. These cancers begin in the cells that line the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose, and throat. Approximately 30 percent of cases of this disease are related to HPV infection, and it is these cases, in particular, that are on the rise. Califano suggested increased marijuana use may be a driving factor. 

Previous studies have linked daily marijuana exposure to an increased prevalence of HPV-related throat cancer. However, a mechanism linking cannabis exposure to increased growth of the cancer was unknown. 

Reporting in the Jan. 13, 2020 online edition of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers outline how the presence of THC in the bloodstream activates the p38 MAPK pathway, which controls programmed cell death called apoptosis. When activated, p38 MAPK prevents apoptosis from occurring, thus allowing cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.

Working with Chao Liu, MD, visiting scientist at UC San Diego and a physician at China’s Central South University, and other colleagues, Califano and team used animal and human cell lines to show that THC turns p38 MAPK on and were able to stop the growth of HPV-positive head and neck cancer by turning off the pathway.  

The team then analyzed blood samples from patients with HPV-related throat cancer who had their genomes comprehensively mapped to define activated gene pathways. Similar to the cell lines, the blood samples showed p38 MAPK activation and loss of apoptosis in tumors from patients with THC in their blood.

The authors said studies and public opinion suggestions that THC and other cannabis products have cancer-fighting properties need additional, more critical evaluation. Past studies showing anti-cancer effects of THC and other cannabinoids often used levels of THC higher than those found with recreational use, but doses used recreationally clearly activate a cancer-causing pathway said Califano.

“We now have convincing scientific evidence that daily marijuana use can drive tumor growth in HPV-related head and neck cancer,” said Califano. “Marijuana and other cannabis products are often considered benign, but it is important to note that all drugs that have benefits can also have drawbacks. This is a cautionary tale.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infections are responsible for approximately 35,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the United States. Infection is so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Most clear up on their own, without the person ever knowing they’ve had it.

Several vaccines are available that can prevent the majority of HPV-related cancers. The vaccines work best when they are given before a person is exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends vaccinating boys and girls age 11 to 12 years old but it can be administered as early as age 9.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 15 percent of youth 12 to 17 years old and 47% of adults age 26 and older have used or tried marijuana.

Together, a low HPV vaccination rate and an increase in marijuana use among youth has the makings of a storm, said Califano, physician-in-chief and director of the Head and Neck Cancer Center at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. 

Moores Cancer Center is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country and the only such center in San Diego County.

Treatment options for patients with early- or late-stage head and neck cancers include minimally invasive surgery, reconstruction and rehabilitation, proton therapy and other radiation therapy, innovative clinical trials and targeted therapy, including immunotherapy. 

The Head and Neck Cancer Center provides comprehensive care that includes counseling, education and support groups, nutrition, dental rehabilitation, speech and language therapy, and social workers to help patients through every step of the process beginning with diagnosis to support lifelong wellness. 

Califano and team are now looking at whether cannabidiol, or CBD, has a similar effect to THC. CBD is another major chemical compound found in marijuana, but does not produce the “high” and is now commonly used in various over-the-counter products, such as lotions, ointments, and edibles.

In addition, the team is investigating whether p38 MAPK can be targeted with drugs to stop HPV-related head and neck cancer from growing.

Co-authors include: Chao Liu, Sayed Sadat, Koji Ebisumoto, Akihiro Sakai, Bharat Panuganti, Shuling Ren, Yusuke Goto, Sunny Haft, Takahito Fukusumi, Mizuo Ando, Yuki Saito, Pablo Tamayo, Huwate Yeerna, William Kim, Jacqueline Hubbard, Andrew Sharabi and J. Silvio Gutkind from UC San Diego; and Theresa Guo from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Funding for this research came, in part, from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and National Institute of Health (R01 DE023347, U01CA217885, R01HG009285, R01CA121941 and P30CA023100).

Comments
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Kattie Albert
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May 18, 2020
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May 16, 2020
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May 15, 2020


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May 12, 2020
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May 10, 2020
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May 06, 2020


I want to give a testimony on how I got cured from HPV Virus. Few months back I was having some symptoms . I went to see a doctor and many blood tests was done on me, later on I was told I had HPV . My doctor told me that there's no cure for HPV I felt bad, I went online searching for a possible cure for HPV Virus, I saw a post of Dr.CHO-CHA a herbal doctor that cured someone from HPV . I contacted him and told him how I'm feeling he said his herbal medicine can cure me. He sent me the medicine via Courier Service and I received the medicine after 3 working days after he sent it, i took the medicine as prescribed by him. Before the completion of the medication the symptoms stopped. I went to the doctor and carried out another blood test, surprisingly I was Negative. I haven't had any symptoms anymore, you can contact him no Email: (chochaherbalarenaforhealing@gmail.com)
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May 06, 2020
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May 05, 2020
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May 04, 2020
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May 03, 2020
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May 03, 2020
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Hepatitis ABC.

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Cedric Bowell
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May 03, 2020
6 YEARS HSV 2 CURED .SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CURED FROM HERPES WITH THE USE OF HERBAL MEDICINE

  I want to say thanks to Doctor HASSAN, this is a big privilege to share with everyone on how my wife and I was cured of HSV 2 by this great Doctor HASSAN , ever since my wife and I was diagnosed of HSV 2 we have never been happy, we have taken so many medication, supplements , and so many others, we were afraid that we might never get cured, but everything turn around when i saw numerous testimonies of Doctor HASSAN, curing several persons from HSV, and other types of disease with his herbal medicine, without wasting much time i contacted him through his  Email: drhassanherbscure@gmail.com . He told me to be happy that he will make sure that my wife and I are cured , i obeyed and followed his instructions and thereafter he sent me the herbal medicine, and give me instructions on how to take the herbal medicine, so we take it after taking it for 3 weeks my wife and I  was totally cured, at first i never believed that we will be cured, but today my story is different and we were confirmed both negative to this virus, in-case you are suffering from this same virus or you have any kind of disease, you can also contact him for the same result on his

   Number/Whats-App : 2349032582239 or

   Email: drhassanherbscure@gmail.com     .i am so grateful to you sir for saving us from HSV.
Mercy Frosh
|
May 02, 2020
I am so happy to share my testimony of how I was cured by Dr Destiny for helping me with your herbal mixture to cure my HSV2 virus, right now everything is fine thank God for everything, doctor you are the best I have ever seen,he is real and can be trusted and also he is the best herbal doctor in African you can email him for your help also via email ( drdestinyspellhome@gmail.com ) or what-apps him through his number via ASAP number ( 2348105074556 ) Or contact is facebook Page:  https://web.facebook.com/Herbal-Doctor-Destiny-105395461096061/  
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May 02, 2020
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May 01, 2020
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April 30, 2020
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jessica martin
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April 30, 2020
I’m so happy to testify of the good work of Dr patrick I Suffer from Herpes virus since 2007 and i had frequent symptoms in my private area, after some time it will go away after using acyclovir drugs, then come back after some months. it was disheartening since i have been diagnosed, but after finding Dr patrick and his reviews i was convinced that he will definitely cure me and so i contacted and he told me how to get his medicine and using it for just 14 days and i will go and check up and first i said how can that be possible but i used his herbal medicine after making purchase and truly i used it and went for the test again, and my result came back negative. so i made it a task to share this good testimony in the internet so that those sick can benefit and get cured. What app or call: 2348055367947 Or Email:dr patrickherbalhome@gmail.com  
OSE JOY
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April 29, 2020
I was diagnosed of HERPES Virus in 2018 and I have tried all I can to get cured but all to no avail, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbalist man who prepare herbal medication to cure all kind of diseases including HERPES virus, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try , when i contact this herbalist via his email and he prepared a HERPES herbal cure and sent it to via UPS delivery company service, when i received this cure, he gave me step by directions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed, i was totally cured of this deadly disease within 14days of usage, I am now free from the deadly disease called herpes, all thanks to Dr. USELU you can rich this great herbal doctor via his email: (dr.uselucaregiver@gmail.com) call or whatsapp him on his mobile number 2349019328641  
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