Diabetes Drug May Help Fight Cancer, But No Proof Yet

Metformin, a widely used drug for controlling type 2 diabetes, may have cancer-fighting ability… but its too soon to say for sure.

Fox News reports that a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests women with type 2 diabetes who took the medication had a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer over more than a decade of follow-ups.

Metformin is also sold under the name Glucophage. It has been on the market for many years and is generally considered safe, though Drugs.com reports some may experience mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas and stomach pain.

Fox News said Metformin shrinks lung and breast tumors in mice and appears to lower the risk of developing some cancer in patients taking the drug for type 2 diabetes.

The new study used data from about 68,000 postmenopausal women recorded over a 12 year period.

According to the report, each year 0.42 percent of women without diabetes developed breast cancer, compared to just 0.40 percent of diabetics on Metformin and 0.47 percent of diabetics taking other drugs.

“This is an area of great excitement,” Pamela Goodwin, a breast cancer expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, told Fox News.

While the results are not conclusive or ready for clinical application, they can be used to inform further studies on the issue, including one Goodwin is currently working on to see if Metformin can ward off new tumors in women getting breast cancer treatment. The results of that study though are still three to four years away.

(Photo courtesy of Drugs.com)