Cervical cancer remains a global health related issue among females of Sub-Saharan Africa, with over half a million new cases reported each year. Different therapeutic regimens have been suggested in various regions of Africa, however, over a quarter of a million women die of cervical cancer, annually. Therefore, it is important to search for new drugs through effective screening of medicinal plant extracts to identify lead anti-cervical cancer drugs. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the anti-growth effects of Cannabis sativa extracts and its isolate, cannabidiol on cervical cancer cell lines HeLa, SiHa, and ME-180. To determine for the presence of important constituents and evaluate for the anti-growth effects, phytochemical screening, MTT assay, cell growth analysis, flow cytometry, morphology analysis, Western blot, caspase 3/7 assay, and ATP measurement assay were conducted were conducted. Results obtained indicate that both plant extracts induced cell death at an IC50 of 50 - 100μg/ml and the Inhibition of cell growth was cell line dependent. Flow cytometry confirmed that, with or without cell cycle arrest, the type of induced cell death was apoptosis. Cannabis sativa extracts led to the up-regulation of apoptosis proteins (p53, Bax, caspase-3, and caspase-9) and the down regulation of anti-apoptosis proteins (Bcl-2 and RBBP6), signalling the execution of apoptosis. Apoptosis induction was further confirmed by morphological changes, an increase in Caspase 3/7 and a decrease in the ATP levels. In conclusion, this data implies Cannabis sativa crude extracts has the potential to inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cell lines, which may be due to the presence of cannabidiol.

Citation Format: Lesetja Raymond Motadi, sindiswa lukhelo. Isolated cannabidiol from Cannabis sativa plant extracts inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 2190.