Repositioning metformin for cancer prevention and treatment

Brendan J. Quinn, Hiroshi Kitagawa, Regan M. Memmott, Joell J. Gills, Phillip A. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Metformin is the most commonly prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Retrospective studies show that metformin is associated with decreased cancer risk. This historical correlation has driven vigorous research campaigns to determine the anticancer mechanisms of metformin. Consolidating the preclinical data is a challenge because unanswered questions remain concerning relevant mechanisms, bioavailability, and genetic factors that confer metformin sensitivity. Perhaps the most important unanswered question is whether metformin has activity against cancer in non-diabetics. In this review we highlight the proposed mechanisms of metformin action in cancer and discuss ongoing clinical trials with metformin in cancer. Improved understanding of these issues will increase the chances for successful application of metformin as an inexpensive, well-tolerated, and effective anticancer agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-480
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • AMPK
  • Cancer
  • Chemoprevention
  • Diabetes
  • Metformin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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