Diabetes Drug Metformin May Help Prevent Lung Cancer


According to an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) press release, new research presented at the AACR 101st Annual Meeting 2010 suggests the type 2 diabetes drug may soon be used in the prevention of lung cancer

Metformin decreases levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and circulating insulin, which is important in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, emerging research suggests metformin may inhibit tumor growth as well.

For the current study, Dr. Dennis, senior investigator in the medical oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute,  and 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 percent to 50 percent. Dennis said levels of metformin reached in mice are readily achievable in humans.

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