AACR LogoLung cancer is said to be a disease of unrestrained cell development in tissues of the lung. This growth may result in metastasis, which is claimed to be the invasion of adjacent tissue and infiltration further than the lungs. Metformin, a foundation of treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes, may soon play a function in lung cancer prevention if early laboratory research is said to be corroborated in clinical trials.

Metformin appears to reduce levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and circulating insulin, which is believed to be vital in patients with type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, promising research seems to propose that metformin could reduce tumor development as well.

“This well tolerated, FDA-approved diabetes drug was able to prevent tobacco-carcinogen induced lung tumors,” commented, Phillip A. Dennis, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator in the medical oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute.

For the present study, Dennis and colleagues apparently treated mice with metformin for 13 weeks following exposure to a nicotine-derived nitrosamine (NNK). It is claimed to be the most common carcinogen in tobacco and an identified promoter of lung tumorigenesis.

When given orally, metformin was said to be well tolerated and decreased tumor burden by roughly 40 percent to 50 percent. Dennis mentioned that levels of metformin attained in mice are said to be promptly realizable in humans.

Dennis and colleagues additionally assessed the effects of metformin on a chain of biomarkers for lung tumorigenesis and discovered that it seems to have inhibited mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This apparently fuels lung tumor development by reducing levels of circulating insulin and IGF-1. This effect was claimed to be even more intense when metformin was administered to mice by injection, which presumably decreased lung tumor burden by roughly 72 percent.

The study was presented at the AACR 101st Annual Meeting 2010.