Machester University logoApproaches such as targeted therapies and radiation therapies have proven significantly useful for breast cancer’s treatment. The disease caused by the tissues of the breast can now apparently benefit from a novel drug. According to a recent investigation, scientists have developed a new test which incorporates the ability to identify which breast cancer patients could benefit from a 10p-a-day diabetes drug.

The examiners suggested patients diagnosed with breast cancer could benefit from metformin, a cheap and safe diabetes drug that could emerge as a new, reliable cancer treatment. The team led by Professor Michael Lisanti first observed the cells in the laboratory and fed them high-energy food entitled lactates and ketones. The examination enables the scientists to discover which genes were expressed based on this fuel supply, and formed a gene signature based on this.

“We’ve shown that the saying, ‘you are what you eat’ holds true for cancer. The food cancer cells consume is crucial to how well a patient does and what treatment they need,” stated Professor Michael Lisanti, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at The University of Manchester.

Following that, the team paid attention to 219 hormonal breast cancer patients and examined which cancer cells fed on ketones and lactates. Apparently, patients who consumed high levels of ketones and lactates were more likely to have their disease return, for it spread to other organs and to die.

“If cancer cells are consuming high-energy food, this makes a tumor more aggressive and harder to treat. However, they could benefit from metformin, which cuts off this fuel supply. There is more work to do but this test could be an important new way of tailoring treatments to patients need, across a range of cancers,” added Professor Michael Lisanti.

The test reportedly merged the genes signature with the ketone and lactate food supply. This could shed light on which patients are likely to have a poor prognosis with those same patients potentially benefiting from metformin.

These new findings were recently published in the journal Cell Cycle.