The diabetes drug metformin may be considered for use in the treatment of ovarian cancer, report researchers in the journal CANCER. The study found that ovarian cancer patients who took the drug tended to live longer than patients who did not take it.
Research in the past has indicated that metformin may have anticancer properties, so researchers Viji Shridhar and Sanjeev Kumar investigated patients with ovarian cancer who took metformin.
They discovered that 67 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. 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 researchers stress that the findings demonstrate only a correlation between metformin intake and better survival, and not a causative effect. They are, however, optimistic that additional studies will uncover if there is 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 Dr. Shridhar. "Such trials are currently underway in breast cancer. We think that ovarian cancer research needs to follow that example," added Dr. Kumar.
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