Recent advances in the use of metformin: Can treating diabetes prevent breast cancer?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BioMed Research International, 2015, 2015
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Diana Hatoum and Eileen M. McGowan. There is substantial epidemiological evidence pointing to an increased incidence of breast cancer and morbidity in obese, prediabetic, and diabetic patients. In vitro studies strongly support metformin, a diabetic medication, in breast cancer therapy. Although metformin has been heralded as an exciting new breast cancer treatment, the principal consideration is whether metformin can be used as a generic treatment for all breast cancer types. Importantly, will metformin be useful as an inexpensive therapy for patients with comorbidity of diabetes and breast cancer? In general, meta-analyses of clinical trial data from retrospective studies in which metformin treatment has been used for patients with diabetes and breast cancer have a positive trend; nevertheless, the supporting clinical data outcomes remain inconclusive. The heterogeneity of breast cancer, confounded by comorbidity of disease in the elderly population, makes it difficult to determine the actual benefits of metformin therapy. Despite the questionable evidence available from observational clinical studies and meta-analyses, randomized phases I-III clinical trials are ongoing to test the efficacy of metformin for breast cancer. This special issue review will focus on recent research, highlighting in vitro research and retrospective observational clinical studies and current clinical trials on metformin action in breast cancer.
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