Use of cannabis in urological cancer patients: A review to evaluate risk for cancer development, therapeutic use, and symptom management
Keywords:Urologic Cancer; Cannabis; Therapeutics; Review
Introduction: Recent recreational legalization of cannabis has resulted in an increased interest in the therapeutic effects of cannabis use in cancer patients, with reports of its use in symptom management and as a risk factor for cancer development. The objective of this review was to evaluate the literature on the association of cannabis use with the risk of cancer development, symptom management, and therapeutic management in the urological cancer (UC) patient population.
Methods: A systematic search of databases and trial registries for papers published to March 2020 on cannabis, symptom and therapeutic management, and cancer development in UC patients was conducted. After screening of full-text articles, data were extracted for evaluation. Studies were eligible if they were in the clinical setting, included ≥5 UC patients, reported use of any cannabis variant, and were written in English.
Results: The search retrieved 2456 abstracts, of which 48 full-text articles were reviewed and 21 included in the review. Low-level evidence suggested a correlation between cannabis use and risk for development of testicular cancer. Some support existed for using cannabis for cancer pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea. There was inadequate evidence to substantiate cannabis use as a therapeutic agent for management of UCs. A lack of high-level evidence and robust methodology of the studies limited evaluation of the findings.
Conclusions: Given the paucity of data on cannabis use for therapeutic purposes in UC, large, prospective trials with adequate followup times to observe the effect of cannabis use on UCs are warranted to improve the evidence base.
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