Canine urothelial carcinoma is the most common form of canine bladder cancer. Treatment with chemotherapy has variable response rates leading to most dogs succumbing to their disease within a year. Cannabidiol is an emerging treatment within the field of oncology. In reported in vivo studies, cannabidiol has induced apoptosis, reduced cell migration, and acted as a chemotherapy sensitizer in various human tumor types. The aim of this study was to characterize the effects of cannabidiol on canine urothelial carcinoma cell viability and apoptosis as both a single agent and in combination with chemotherapy in vitro.
Cannabidiol reduced cell viability and induced apoptosis in canine urothelial cells as determined by crystal violet viability assay and annexin V/propidium iodide flow cytometry. Furthermore, combinations of cannabidiol with mitoxantrone and vinblastine chemotherapy yielded significantly reduced cell viability and increased apoptosis compared to single agent treatment alone. The drug interactions were deemed synergistic based on combination index calculations. Conversely, the combination of cannabidiol and carboplatin did not result in decreased cell viability and increased apoptosis compared to single agent treatment. Combination index calculations suggested an antagonistic interaction between these drugs. Finally, the combination of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug piroxicam with cannabidiol did not significantly affect cell viability, although, some cell lines demonstrated decreased cell viability when mitoxantrone was combined with piroxicam.
Cannabidiol showed promising results as a single agent or in combination with mitoxantrone and vinblastine for treatment of canine urothelial carcinoma cells. Further studies are justified to investigate whether these results are translatable in vivo.