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Diabetes Drug Metformin Can Fight Ovarian Cancer

 

Diabetes Drug Metformin Can Fight Ovarian Cancer! Pic Courtesy: ovca.org

Latest research by investigators from Mayo Clinic shows that the commonly prescribed diabetes drug, metformin, can help in combating ovarian cancer too.

How did the researchers arrive at this conclusion? They did so, by observing patients who had diabetes and ovarian cancer vs patients who just had ovarian cancer. The participants, who had a combination of both diabetes and ovarian cancer, had greater live spans than patients who did not have diabetes.  The drug metformin makes all the difference in the survival rate.

Helpwithcancer Org shared the views of Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, a Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncology fellow. Dr Kumar said,

We had a pretty good idea that metformin has anti-cancer activity, because a lot of people around the world have been reporting the link between metformin intake and a protective effect against cancer for a number of years now.

This research is of special significance for 4 major reasons:

  • Metformin has a very good safety profile
  • Easily available, FDA approved
  • Has been in use for a long time
  • Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer among women and is the most fatal, as per National Institutes of Health

In spite of the positive increase in life spans, the doctors are not able to exactly pinpoint out the reason for the success of the diabetes drug, metformin, in fighting ovarian cancer.

Kumar said,

That’s something that is actively under investigation right now, but people think that it may have a few areas on which [the drug] is active. It has been shown to inhibit the region of cancer cells, and it also seems to inhibit the energy supply to the cell.  And it also may be acting on the cancer stem cells – cancer stem cells are thought to be engines of cancer growth.

So can metformin ‘cure’ ovarian cancer? No it cannot. According to Dr. Kumar, the diabetes drug has to be used in ‘combination’ with the other anti-cancer drugs.

Large-scale clinical trials are the need of the hour for ovarian cancer, in order to make metformin an accepted ovarian cancer treatment option.

 

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