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Diabetes Drug May Serve as Anti-Tumor Agent

Conquest - Fall 2008

Metformin, the common first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, may be effective in increasing pathologic complete response rates in diabetic women with early-stage breast cancer who took the drug during chemotherapy prior to having surgery.

According to M. D. Anderson researchers, this will pave the way for further research of the drug as a potential cancer therapy.

The retrospective study is the first clinical research observation of the diabetes drug as a potential anti-tumor agent. The study was led by Sao Jiralerspong, M.D., Ph.D., a fellow, and Ana Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., an assistant professor, both in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Breast Medical Oncology.

Metformin, an oral medication, is the most common drug prescribed for type 2 diabetes. According to Gonzalez-Angulo, more than 35 million prescriptions of the drug are filled annually. It’s most often given to diabetic patients who are obese or have insulin resistance.

Reported June 2 during the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center