Diabetes Drug Metformin May Reduce Cancer Death Risk

First Posted: Apr 19, 2016 05:30 AM EDT

Metformin, a diabetes drug, is thought to have the potential for cutting down cancer death risks, a new study reveals. The relation between the type 2 diabetes medicine and reduction in risk of cancer death was particularly seen in postmenopausal women.

According to a report published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers found that women affected with both type 2 diabetes and cancer simultaneously have a 45 percent higher chance of dying of cancer than those who suffer from cancer alone. In the course of the study, it was observed that cancer‐affected women who took Metformin, particularly long‐term users, were at a lower risk of developing certain cancers and dying from it in comparison to users of other anti diabetes drugs.

On the basis of the observation, the researchers feel that it may be more effective to use Metformin as treatment for type 2 diabetes compared to the other medicines given to postmenopausal women affected with cancer.

The research team studied the data of around 146,000 postmenopausal women in the age group of 50 to 79 years old from 1993 to 1998. It was noticed that the women had a 25 to 35 percent risk of developing endometrial and colon cancers, as well as non Hodgkin lymphoma. The risk was twice for cancers of the pancreas and liver.

As per results, the scientists suggest that diabetes is still a risk factor for death by cancer and cancer associated factors. However, Metformin therapy could have a more important role in managing cancers associated with diabetes as compared to other anti diabetes treatments. At the moment, it is still not fully known if Metformin actually prevents or reduces cancer deaths; however an association exists between them. Further studies are underway to understand more about the relation of Metformin with cancer death risk. 

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