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Diabetes Drugs Might Lower Risk of Lung Cancer
Date:11/2/2010

y Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Of those with lung cancer, 25 percent of those who developed metastatic disease (which is disease that has spread) were taking one of the medications versus 48 percent of those who did not take one of the drugs.

Also, "the longer someone took the medication, the more protective it seemed to have been," Mazzone said. "This also supports the premise that these medications might be able to serve as risk modifiers."

But there's a long way to go before doctors can start recommending metformin, Avandia or Actos for otherwise healthy people to protect against lung cancer.

"There have been no direct studies using these medications in humans for the purpose of preventing or altering the course of lung cancer," Mazzone said. "We need to fully understand the mechanisms by which these medications might prevent or change the course of cancer. We need to develop large clinical trials using these medications and following people forward to see if they are protective, as retrospective studies have suggested."

And the safety profile of these drugs or similar compounds need to be investigated if the drugs are going to be used in non-diabetics, he said. For instance, both Avandia and Actos have been shown to raise the chances of developing certain cardiovascular risk factors.

"This is the sort of study that raises an interesting question that maybe there is some activity," added Dr. Lucas Wong, an associate professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, co-director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program and principal investigator of the Community Clinical Oncology Program at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. "The harder thing is to figure out how to dose the medication, how to use, [but] just because you're a diabetic and you're taking this medication doesn't mean you're not going to get lung cancer."

It should be noted that research presented at meeti
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