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April 03, 2012

Metformin Protects against Liver, Oral, Prostate and Pancreatic Cancers

Previously, we had covered Metformin as one of five recommendations for longevity by Dr. Terry Grossman.

Generic metformin costs about 14 cents per 500mg pill.
It has potential side effects of diarrhea and stomach upset.
Need ease onto it. One quarter dose, then half dose then full dose of 2 pills 250-500mg per day.
Need a doctors prescription. If you FBS (fasting blood sugar) 86 or more then consider it and definitely with FBS 100 or more

The recommendations were

Carb Concentration diet (only carbs at one meal per day) - Free
Metformin 14 cents per day
Exercise - Free
Baby aspirin cents per day
Donate blood (to lower iron in the blood) - Free

Other presenters at the personal life extension conference mentioned metformin

Metformin has some MTOR activation (same pathway as Rapamycin)
It extends maximum lifespan of mice by 10%
Useful in humans (seems to be yes).


1. WebMD - The diabetes drug metformin -- commonly a first choice for controlling blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes -- is sparking new interest as a cancer fighter.

A new study presented here at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting shows that metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet) may put the brakes on the growth of tumor cells in men with prostate cancer. Another study released in one of the association's journals suggests that it may extend the lives of people with pancreatic cancer.

But experts caution that the work is still preliminary and more study is needed before metformin can be recommended as a cancer treatment.

One new study involved 22 men with prostate cancer. They took metformin pills three times a day from the time they got their diagnosis to when they had their prostates removed, an average period of 41 days.

Researchers compared tissue from biopsies taken at diagnosis to tissue removed at the time of surgery and found that metformin slowed the growth of tumor cells by 32%.

Levels of insulin-like proteins in the blood also dropped.

A growing body of evidence -- from lab, animal, and human studies -- suggests metformin mounts a multi-pronged attack against cancer, he tells WebMD. It lowers levels of insulin in the blood, and insulin contributes to the growth of cancer cells

2. Patients with diabetes and pancreatic cancer who are prescribed metformin may have improved survival compared with those not prescribed the commonly used diabetic agent, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.




In a retrospective study, Li and colleagues observed 302 patients with diabetes and pancreatic cancer; of which 117 were prescribed metformin.

At one year, the researchers found that 63.9 percent of the patients prescribed metformin were still alive, while 46.3 percent of the group not prescribed metformin survived.

By two years, 30.1 percent of the metformin group remained alive compared with 15.4 percent of the non-metformin group. Median survival was 15.2 months for patients prescribed metformin and 11.1 months for patients not prescribed metformin. Those prescribed metformin had a 32 percent reduced risk for death.

This protective effect was evident at all disease stages, with the exception of metastatic disease where metformin appeared to have no measurable effect.

3. Science Daily - Metformin, a widely used, well-tolerated drug prescribed for patients with diabetes, may protect against liver cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Girnun is currently planning a clinical trial in patients at risk for liver cancer to determine if the chemopreventive qualities observed in mice are confirmed in humans.

4. Medical Express - New findings published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that metformin may protect against oral cancer.

J. Silvio Gutkind, Ph.D., chief of the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues induced premalignant lesions in laboratory mice and studied the effect of metformin on progression of these lesions to oral cancers.

“We saw strong activity against mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1), which we know contributes to oral cancers, so this is strong preclinical information that there is a protective effect,” said Gutkind.

Gutkind and colleagues found that administration of metformin reduced the size and number of carcinogen-induced oral tumoral lesions in mice and significantly reduced the development of squamous cell carcinomas by about 70 to 90 percent.

They found that metformin inhibited mTORC1 function in the basal layer of oral premalignancies and prevented their spontaneous development into head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

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