Diabetes drugs could help combat lung cancer

Tue, 02 Nov 2010
Diabetes medications, such as the commonly used metformin, may help to prevent or control lung cancer, a new study has found. Scientists believe that people who take drugs such as metformin for their diabetes are much less likely to contract lung cancer spread. It was also found that metformin was more effective than newer drugs such as called thiazolidinediones (TZDs) or glitazones .

The study involved an assessment of the medical records of 157 patients who had survived lung cancer and who also had diabetes. People who had taken either a metformin drug or a TZD were significantly less likely to have advanced lung cancer that had spread.

Peter Mazzone, from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who led the study, said "Our study, as well as other research, suggests an association between metformin and/or TZD use and the risk of developing lung cancer."

He added "However, unique to this study, we have been able to report less advanced cancer in those who do develop cancer, a decreased frequency of squamous cell and small cell carcinomas, and improved survival, when controlled for stage, in people taking metformin and/or TZDs."

The researchers hope that it may be possible in the future to give metformin to smokers with lung cancer as a preventative measure. Although there is growing evidence of drugs having a beneficial effect on the treatment of lung cancer, more work will need to be done before this is possible.
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