Metformin (or fasting!) for cancer treatment

Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Crosstalk between Insulin/Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptors and G Protein-Coupled Receptor Signaling Systems: A Novel Target for the Antidiabetic Drug Metformin in Pancreatic Cancer.

Rozengurt E, Sinnett-Smith J, Kisfalvi K.

Authors’ Affiliation: Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine, CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles California.


Insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF-1) receptors and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) signaling systems are implicated in autocrine-paracrine stimulation of a variety of malignancies, including ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, one of the most lethal human diseases. Novel targets for pancreatic cancer therapy are urgently needed. We identified a crosstalk between insulin/IGF-1 receptors and GPCR signaling systems in pancreatic cancer cells, leading to enhanced signaling, DNA synthesis, and proliferation. Crosstalk between these signaling systems depends on mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1). Metformin, the most widely used drug in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, activates AMP kinase (AMPK), which negatively regulates mTORC1. Recent results show that metformin-induced activation of AMPK disrupts crosstalk between insulin/IGF-1 receptor and GPCR signaling in pancreatic cancer cells and inhibits the growth of these cells in xenograft models.

Given that insulin/IGF-1 and GPCRs are implicated in other malignancies, a similar crosstalk mechanism may be operative in other cancer cell types. Recent epidemiological studies linked administration of metformin with a reduced risk of pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer in diabetic patients. We posit that crosstalk between insulin/IGF-1 receptor and GPCR signaling is a mechanism for promoting the development of certain types of cancer and a target for the prevention and therapy of these diseases via metformin administration.

Clin Cancer Res; 16(9); OF1-7. (c)2010 AACR.


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  1. Pingback: WeeksMD » More info re Metformin for cancer – is your oncologist listening?

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