hematology/oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. "Metformin may help keep blood sugar levels down [which improves prognosis for cancer patients] but it may also work in a number of different ways to combat cancer cell growth."
The next step is to test the concept in a prospective fashion, said Pishvaian, who was not involved with the study.
Three other studies, also released Saturday, suggest that metformin might be active against other cancer types:
- Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine report that metformin appeared to slow the growth of liver tumors in mice.
- A team at the U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research said that, in mouse studies, metformin appears to reduce the number and size of oral cancer lesions.
- Research conducted at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in Manchester, England, finds that combining metformin with certain cancer drugs worked better to suppress a certain type of melanoma versus using the cancer drugs alone.
The liver cancer and oral cancer studies were published March 31 in Cancer Prevention Research, while the melanoma study appears in the March 31 issue of Cancer Discovery.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on prostate cancer.
SOURCES: Anthony M. Joshua, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., staff medical oncologist, Princess Margaret Hospital/University Health Network, Toronto; Michael Pishvaian, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of hematology/oncology, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, D.C.; Michael Pollak, M.D., professor of oncology and of medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada; March 31, 2012 presentation, study abstracts, American Association for Cancer Research, Chicago; March 31, 2012, Clinical Cancer Res
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