A drug commonly given to patients with type 2 diabetes has been found to lower the risk of dying from cancer in some patients.
Researchers found that the drug Metformin could significantly lower the chances of cancer deaths in menopausal women leading to a possible breakthrough in the fight against cancer.
The study, published in International Journal of Cancer, was conducted using data from 146,000 post-menopausal women during a Women’s Health Initiative study between between 1993 and 1998. It found that women who suffered from type 2 diabetes was at a greater risk of developing cancer but for those taking Metformin, the risk dropped.
Looking at particular types of cancer, the researchers found that by having type 2 diabetes, all the participants had a 25 to 35% higher risk of developing colon and endometrial cancer as well as lymphoma showing that developing type 2 diabetes can cause a massive increase in further developing cancer. However, other drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes didn’t have as much effect on reducing this risk as Metformin.
Despite the results, the lead author, Zhihong Gong of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute states that more research needs to be done to show whether there is indeed a strong link between the drug and reduced risk of cancer deaths according to UPI.
“Metformin users, particularly long-term users, may be at lower risk of developing certain cancers and dying from cancer, compared to users of other anti-diabetes medications. Future studies are needed to determine the long-term effect of Metformin in cancer risk and survival from cancer.”
“Our findings from this large study may provide more evidence that postmenopausal women with diabetes and cancer may benefit from metformin therapy compared to other anti-diabetes therapy,” stated Dr. Gong.
Whatever the plans for long-term study of this drug, it gives a good indication that there is a good chance that cancer risk could be reduced in diabetes-associated cancer.