Overexpression of the cannabinoid receptor CB2 was associated with longer overall survival (OS) among patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with adenocarcinoma histology, according to results of a study presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020.

“Cannabinoid receptor CB2 expression has been identified to be high in various malignant neoplasms,” Nikolaos Tsoukalas, MD, MSc, PhD, of the NIMTS Veterans Hospital in Greece, and lead author of the study, said. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relevance of CB2 expression in NSCLC.

The study evaluated 79 patients with NSCLC, including 48 with adenocarcinoma and 31 with squamous cell carcinoma. CB2 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry using tissue microarrays.

Continue Reading

Overexpression of CB2 was identified in 25.3% of NSCLC specimens, including 18.8% of adenocarcinomas and 35.5% of squamous cell carcinomas.

CB2 expression was significantly associated with several clinicopathologic features, including sex (P =.019), histology (P =.032), and smoking status (P =.022).

Among patients with adenocarcinoma, higher CB2 expression was significantly associated with prolonged OS at 49.3 months compared with 23.4 months, with negative or weak expression (P =.031).

OS was not associated with CB2 expression among patients with squamous cell carcinoma.

Dr Tsoukalas concluded that “cannabinoid receptor CB2 could be considered as a potential biomarker or a therapeutic target in NSCLC.” He added that “more studies are needed to elucidate the role of this molecule in NSCLC.”


Tsoukalas NG, Giaginis C, Alexandrou P, et al. Clinical significance of cannabinoid receptor CB2 expression in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Presented at: European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020; September 19021, 2020.  Abstract 1995P.