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PCF-Funded Scientists Say Diabetes Medication Shows Promise Against Cancers, Including Prostate

April 1, 2012 -- Data presented at the annual AACR meeting on metformin showed promising results against a variety of different cancers, including prostate cancer. Metformin is currently being used by millions of patients for diabetes and data results from two clinical trials found that metformin appeared to slow the rate of prostate cancer growth in certain patients and prolonged life for early-stage pancreatic cancer patients. The drug has also shown promise against colon and breast cancer.

"There are very exciting clues from laboratory studies and population studies that metformin . . . may improve cancer outcomes or lower cancer risk," said Dr. Michael Pollak, professor of oncology and of medicine at McGill University in Montreal. "However, we need more laboratory and clinical studies to find the best dose to use, to understand in what disease situations it may help most, and also to determine if metformin itself or a metformin derivative would be most suitable for trials."

Work on metabolic therapies for early and advanced prostate cancer was supported in part by a $1.8 million grant by the Prostate Cancer Foundation to Dr. Michael Pollak and Dr. Matthew Smith at Massachusetts General Hospital. Data was also presented by Anthony Joshua, a current Young Investigator grant candidate at the Coalition to Cure Prostate Cancer in Canada. 

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