Purpose: Cannabinoids (CBD) have anti-tumor activity against prostate cancer (PCa). Preclinical studies have demonstrated a significant decrease in prostate specific antigen (PSA) protein expression and reduced tumor growth in xenografts of LNCaP and DU-145 cells in athymic mice when treated with CBD. Over-the-counter CBD products may vary in activity without clear standardization, and Epidiolex is a standardized FDA-approved oral CBD solution for treatment of certain types of seizures. We aimed to assess the safety and preliminary anti-tumor activity of Epidiolex in patients with biochemically recurrent (BCR) PCa. Experimental design: This was an open-label, single center, phase I dose escalation study followed by a dose expansion in BCR patients after primary definitive local therapy (prostatectomy +/− salvage radiotherapy or primary definitive radiotherapy). Eligible patients were screened for urine tetrahydrocannabinol prior to enrollment. The starting dose level of Epidiolex was 600 mg by mouth once daily and escalated to 800 mg daily with the use of a Bayesian optimal interval design. All patients were treated for 90 days followed by a 10-day taper. The primary endpoints were safety and tolerability. Changes in PSA, testosterone levels, and patient-reported health-related quality of life were studied as secondary endpoints. Results: Seven patients were enrolled into the dose escalation cohort. There were no dose-limiting toxicities at the first two dose levels (600 mg and 800 mg). An additional 14 patients were enrolled at the 800 mg dose level into the dose expansion cohort. The most common adverse events were 55% diarrhea (grade 1–2), 25% nausea (grade 1–2), and 20% fatigue (grade 1–2). The mean PSA at baseline was 2.9 ng/mL. At the 12-week landmark time-point, 16 out of 18 (88%) had stable biochemical disease, one (5%) had partial biochemical response with the greatest measurable decline being 41%, and one (5%) had PSA progression. No statistically significant changes were observed in patient-reported outcomes (PROs), but PROs changed in the direction of supporting the tolerability of Epidiolex (e.g., emotional functioning improved). Conclusion: Epidiolex at a dose of 800 mg daily appears to be safe and tolerable in patients with BCR prostate cancer supporting a safe dose for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2505
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • biochemical recurrence prostate cancer
  • cannabinoid receptor 1 expression
  • epidiolex
  • patient reported quality of life
  • prostate specific antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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