Diabetes Drug Fights Breast Cancer
Metformin Kills Breast Cancer Stem Cells, May Fight Many Cancers
Easier Cancer Chemo With Metformin?
Another reason researchers are excited about the study findings is that
metformin and standard chemotherapy seem to make each other work better.
"Because of this synergy with chemotherapy, metformin could be used with
lower doses of chemotherapy," Struhl suggests. "Chemotherapy is quite a toxic
thing for people to deal with, and if one could lower the dose that would be
Metformin itself has an outstanding safety record.
"This drug at low doses can be considered a very good candidate for cancer
prevention before a person has any cancer at all," Rauscher said. "The hope is
we can use a drug like metformin and continue to deplete the levels of these
inherently chemotherapy-resistant, dormant cancer stem cells."
Can Metformin Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence?
Ligibel, who was not involved in the Struhl study, has argued that metformin
should be tested in people.
Taking her own advice, she is participating in a human study led by Canada's
national cancer institute that will test whether metformin can prevent breast
cancer from coming back after treatment. The study, which will take place at
multiple cancer centers in Canada and the U.S., has not yet begun
Unfortunately, Ligibel said, there are no plans for studies combining
metformin with chemotherapy. But Struhl said that because metformin is an
approved drug, such studies could begin relatively soon.
"We are hoping for researchers to actually try that experiment," Struhl
said. "The idea of using this as a combined treatment is the main point of our
"These concepts should be moved forward in clinical trials," Rauscher