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Metformin increases pathologic complete response rates in breast cancer patients with diabetes
Date:6/2/2008

n with early-stage breast cancer who received chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting, before surgery. Of the patients, 2,374 were non-diabetic, 68 were diabetic but not taking metaformin and 87 were diabetic and taking the drug. The study's endpoint was pathologic complete response, or the absence of cancer at the time of surgery.

The researchers found that the pathologic complete response rates in the diabetic breast cancer patients taking Metformin was 24 percent, three times higher than the rates in diabetic patients not taking the drug, 8 percent. In the non-diabetic women, the pathologic complete response rate was 16 percent. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that metformin was an independent predictor of pathologic complete response in diabetic patients.

While very exciting, the findings are still very early, cautioned Jiralerspong and Gonzalez-Angulo, and further investigation with metformin is needed.

"We need to study the mechanism of the drug - perhaps it's the decrease in insulin levels, or it may be that the drug has an anti-tumor effect that we to look at in vivo," said Gonzalez-Angulo. "Our next step is to conduct a number correlative studies to try and further understand its mechanism."

M. D. Anderson also plans to open a clinical trial with metformin in combination with hormonal therapy for metastatic breast cancer patients who are obese. The study will be led by Francisco Esteva, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology.


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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
832-264-8893
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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