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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Recreational Cannabis consumption can accelerates the growth of HPV positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

The ingredient that causes people on cannabis to feel the euphoria or “high” is associated with accelerating cancer growth in patients with human papilloma virus (HPV)-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.  

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School Of Medicine demonstrated in animals and human cell line, showed how the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the bloodstream enhances the growth of HPV positive squamous cell cancer cells.  When activated, p38 MAPK pathway prevents cell death (apoptosis), thus allowing HPV positive squamous cell cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.

The team also analyzed blood samples from patients with HPV-related throat cancer and similar to the cell lines, the blood samples showed p38 MAPK activation and loss of cancer cell death in tumors from patients with THC in their blood.

The researchers stated that there is now scientific evidence that daily marijuana use can drive tumor growth in HPV-related head and neck cancer.

The study was published in Clinical Cancer Research in January 2020