Metformin and reduced risk of cancer in diabetic patients


Evans J, Donnelly LA, Emslie-Smith AM, Alessi DR & Morris AD (2005) Metformin and reduced risk of cancer in diabetic patients. BMJ, 330 (7503), pp. 1304-1305.

Metformin, widely given to patients with type 2 diabetes, works by targeting the enzyme AMPK (AMP activated protein kinase), which induces muscles to take up glucose from the blood. A recent breakthrough has found the upstream regulator of AMPK to be a protein kinase known as LKB1.1 2 LKB1 is a well recognised tumour suppressor. Activation of AMPK by metformin and exercise requires LKB1, and this would also explain why exercise is beneficial in the primary and secondary prevention of certain cancers.3 We hypothesise that metformin use in patients with type 2 diabetes may reduce their risk of cancer.

Diabetes; Metabolic disorders; Epidemiologic studies; Health education; Health promotion; Hypertension

BMJ: Volume 330, Issue 7503

Publication date04/06/2005
Publication date online22/04/2005
PublisherBMJ Publishing Group

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