Navigation Links
Common Diabetes Drug May Fight Cancer
Date:9/14/2009

Metformin-chemo combination shrinks tumors, delays recurrence in mice: study

MONDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Adding the widely used diabetes drug metformin to conventional chemotherapy shows promise for treating and delaying recurrence of breast cancer, new research suggests.

In lab tests using mice with breast cancer, researchers found that the drug combination suppressed the cancer stem cells thought to drive tumor progression.

"We discovered that metformin selectively kills cancer stem cells. Very few compounds do that," said Kevin Struhl, lead researcher of a paper appearing in the Sept. 14 online early edition of Cancer Research.

Stem cells are resistant to chemotherapy, and scientists had hoped to find a compound that kills them. "The basic idea in the stem cell hypothesis is that standard chemotherapy can kill the cancer cells that make up the bulk of the tumor, but it's not getting the stem cells, so they re-grow and the tumor comes back. That's a classic pattern," said Struhl, a professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.

That metformin is a known compound adds to the good news. "The exciting thing was that they found an old and relatively safe compound and showed that it had a property that was selectively toxic to cancer stem cells," said Dr. Jonathan Chernoff, deputy scientific director at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "That's new."

Metformin, which is marketed under the brand names Glucophage, Riomet, Fortamet, Glumetza, Obimet, Dianben and Diabex, is an agent that makes the body more sensitive to insulin. Over decades, millions of people have taken it.

"It's known that diabetics who take metformin have a much lower cancer incidence than diabetics who don't, so there has been a hint that the drug might be useful," said Struhl.

One recent study found that metformin may lower a diabetic patient's risk of developing pancreatic cancer by as much as 60 percent.

What was unclear was whether metformin helps diabetics deal better with their blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity or whether it affects the cancer itself. The results of this study point strongly to the latter.

Mice in this study that simultaneously received metformin and doxorubicin, a common chemotherapy agent, showed reductions in tumor size in four types of breast cancer, as well as longer remission times.

On its own, metformin, which was given in lower doses than normal for diabetics, did not have such a striking effect, indicating that the two treatments in combination are key.

Scientists hope that the metformin-chemo combination will result in a need for less chemo, thereby reducing painful side effects.

"Basically the [current] chemo dose is set up to give you as much as you can possibly tolerate on the grounds that the more you kill, the better it is, but likely you're overdoing to do that," Struhl said. "If you could cut [chemotherapy] in half, for example, and use metformin, you might get equally good clinical results and cut side effects."

Researchers also hope that the metformin protocol could have similar synergistic effects in other types of cancers.

Although it's always wise to be cautious when interpreting studies done in mice, "some of the cells they were testing were actually of human origin, so even though they were tested for tumorigenicity in mice, it still has some relevance," Chernoff said.

Researchers are planning clinical trials, which will be the "ultimate test," Struhl said.

Researchers may also start looking at other drugs for similar effects. If other known drugs with good safety profiles prove effective, "that would be an incredible thing," Chernoff said.

More information

Read more about stem cells at the National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Kevin Struhl, Ph.D., the David Wesley Gaiser professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Jonathan Chernoff, M.D., Ph.D., deputy scientific director, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; Sept. 14, 2009, Cancer Research


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. UK junior doctors gaining less experience of common procedures
2. New insights into common knee injuries
3. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
4. Figure Skater Peggy Fleming, HealthSaver Says: Take Pains For Back Strains, 2nd Most Common Doctor Complaint
5. Exelixis Commences Public Offering of Common Stock
6. Common misdiagnosis: most women believe they have a yeast infection when they dont
7. Business Executives Discuss National Health Care Reform at Conference Sponsored by The Century Foundation, with Support from The Commonwealth Fund, and AARP
8. New Expert Report Dispels Common Myths About Aspartame
9. Common Foot Myths Trip Us Up
10. AHPC Holdings, Inc. Announces Intent to Deregister Common Stock With Securities and Exchange
11. Allergy-Induced Asthma More Common in Affluent Countries
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Common Diabetes Drug May Fight Cancer
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) ... a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed ... and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids ... Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, ... run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented ... the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is ... events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a missionary ... Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published author, ... ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she has ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology and learning ... Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  True Health, a leader in integrated ... during National Breast Cancer Awareness month to educate ... Research recently published ... more than 10 million American women are at ... or BRCA2 and have not had testing. These mutations ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... 2017   Provista, a proven leader in ... in purchasing power, today announced a new resource area ... Newsroom is the online home for case studies, ... bios, news releases, slideshows and events. ... of resources at their fingertips, viewers can also watch ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017 ... of single-use, self-contained, illuminating medical devices, today announced ... National Health Surveillance Agency (or Agência Nacional de ... The first single-use, cordless surgical retractor with integrated ... provides optimal access, illumination and exposure of a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: