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Friday, 20 Oct 2017

Diabetes Drug Finds Second Life as Cancer Inhibitor

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The common Type 2 diabetes medication metformin has been show to have the possibility of controlling the progression of lung cancer.  Metformin helps to treat high blood sugar and prevent progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes, or prevent the worsening of diabetes. In patients who have both diabetes and lung cancer, this prescription drug helps to control progression of lung cancer by reducing risk of advanced cancer, and aids in the treatment of lung cancer.

Each year, lung cancer kills more than 1 million people worldwide, including more than 160,000 people in the United States. In the 2009 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, findings revealed that rates of cancer death, as well as the number of new cancer cases have significantly dropped. Among men, the overall decreases are largely due to a considerable decline in the occurrence and death rate of both lung and prostate cancer (the two leading cancers in men). But the battle being fought is difficult, with only about 49 percent of people diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer living for at least five years after diagnosis. The Mayo Clinic also estimates that the five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body is only 3 percent.

In an ongoing search to find new cancer-fight drugs, the Cleveland Clinic reviewed the medical records of 157 patients with diabetes who had a history of lung cancer and compared lung cancer characteristics between patients exposed to metformin and/or thiazolidinediones (a similar diabetes drug) prior to lung cancer diagnosis and those who had not received these drugs prior to diagnosis.

The researchers found that patients exposed to the either metformin or thiazolidinediones (TZDs) prior to receiving a lung cancer diagnosis had a lower risk of metastatic disease compared to those who were not exposed to these drugs, and that those patients exposed to these drugs were more likely to present with an adenocarcinoma and less likely to present with a small cell or squamous cell carcinoma.

"The initial trend we have seen is toward metformin being more protective than TZDs," said Peter J. Mazzone, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic. "The findings from our completed study may lead to chemoprevention studies in at-risk groups, and, possibly, trials that add one or both of these medications to standard treatment."

Metformin may also help overweight adolescents to lose weight. By taking extended-release metformin as part of a lifestyle intervention program, obese teenagers have a greater likelihood of reducing their body mass index (BMI) than those who make lifestyle changes alone. (BMI is a ratio of weight in relation to height used to signify obesity.) These findings are the result of a study conducted earlier this year by Darrell M. Wilson, M.D., of Stanford University in California and colleagues in the Glaser Pediatric Research Network.

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