Diabetes drug extends lifespan in ovarian cancer
Metformin, the drug commonly administered in diabetes, has shown a promise in extending the lifespan of patients with ovarian cancers, say findings from a new study conducted by Indian-American medical researchers.
New treatments are desperately needed for ovarian cancer patients. A previous research has indicated that metformin, which originates from the French Lilac plant, may have anti-cancer properties.
Viji Shridhar and Sanjeev Kumar, both from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and their colleagues analyzed the data collected from 61 patients with ovarian cancer who took metformin, and 178 patients who did not, the journal CANCER reports.
Sixty-seven percent of those who took metformin had not died from ovarian cancer within five years, compared with 47 percent of those who did not take the medication, according to a Mayo Clinic statement.
After accounting for factors such as cancer severity and patients' body mass index, the investigators found that patients taking metformin were 3.7 times more likely to survive throughout the study than those not taking it.
The findings demonstrate only a correlation between metformin intake and better survival, and additional studies are needed to decipher whether the observations made in this study represent a true beneficial effect of metformin in patients with ovarian cancer.
"This study opens the door for using metformin in large-scale randomized trials in ovarian cancer which can ultimately lead to metformin being one option for treatment of patients with the disease," said Shridhar.
Such trials are currently underway in breast cancer. "We think that ovarian cancer research needs to follow that example," said Kumar.