Group Leader: Cristina Sánchez
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death amongst women. Although the mortality rates associated with this disease are decreasing, important clinical challenges remain unsolved, such as innate or acquired resistance to conventional treatments, a better stratification of the patients to determine which are the optimal therapies in each particular case, and reducing the side effects of their current treatments, which in many cases have a significant negative impact in their quality of life.
It has been demonstrated that cannabinoids have therapeutic properties of interest for cancer patients (they prevent nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, they are analgesic, anxiolytic and appetite stimulant, etc.). Our research, however, focuses on the antitumor potential of these compounds, which have been shown to induce antiproliferative, antiangiogenic and antimetastasic effects in different preclinical models of cancer.
In this context, our main aims are:
(i) Understanding the role of the endocannabinoid system in breast cancer generation and progression. Our work has demonstrated, for example, that cannabinoid receptor CB2R plays a pivotal role in HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling, and that CB2R expression may be used as a prognostic marker in HER2+ breast cancer.
(ii) Analyzing the role of the endocannabinoid system as a target for new antitumor treatments for the management of HER2+ breast cancer. Our work has demonstrated, for example, that cannabinoids produce antitumor responses in animal models of the different subtypes of breast cancer.
Our final aim is to translate this preclinical knowledge into clinical tools for the treatment of breast cancer.