Type 2 Diabetes Drug Metformin May Help Prevent Lung Cancer
By Mike Boyle

Metformin, a mainstay of treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes, may soon play a role in lung cancer prevention if early laboratory research done on mice, and presented at the American Association of Cancer Research`s (AACR) recent annual meeting, is confirmed in human clinical trials.

Metformin decreases levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 and circulating insulin, which is important in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, emerging research suggests metformin may inhibit tumor growth as well, according to an AARC press release dated April 19.

"This well tolerated, FDA-approved diabetes drug was able to prevent tobacco-carcinogen induced lung tumors," said Phillip A. Dennis, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator in the medical oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute.

For their study, Dennis and his colleagues treated mice with metformin for 13 weeks following exposure to a nicotine-derived nitrosamine (NNK), which is the most prevalent carcinogen in tobacco and a known promoter of lung tumorigenesis.

When given orally, metformin was well tolerated and reduced tumor burden by 40 to 50 percent. Dennis said levels of metformin reached in mice are readily achievable in humans.

Read the complete AACR press release on this study here; search "metformin."


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 Originally posted April 21, 2010.