Diabetes Drug as Ovarian Ca Tx

Ovarian cancer has been linked with fat cells, which appear to accelerate the spread of the disease when a particular protein is present.


Diabetic patients with ovarian cancer who took the drug metformin for their diabetes had a better survival rate than patients who did not take it, a study headed by the Mayo Clinic shows. A release from the clinic reports that the findings, which were published online in the journal Cancer, may play an important role for researchers as they study the use of existing medications to treat different or new diseases.

The release notes that metformin is a widely prescribed drug to treat diabetes and that previous research has demonstrated its promise as a treatment for other cancers. The Mayo-led study adds ovarian cancer to the list.

Researchers compared the survival of 61 patients with ovarian cancer taking metformin and 178 patients who were not taking metformin. Sixty-seven percent of the patients who took metformin were surviving after five years, compared with 47 percent of those who did not take the medication.

The release quotes study co-author Sanjeev Kumar, M.B.B.S. as saying, "Our study demonstrated improved survival in women with ovarian cancer that were taking metformin. The results are encouraging, but as with any retrospective study, many factors cannot be controlled for us to say if there is a direct cause and effect. Rather, this is further human evidence for a potential beneficial effect of a commonly used drug which is relatively safe in humans. These findings should provide impetus for prospective clinical trials in ovarian cancer."


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