Diabetes treatment could reduce risk of liver cancer

Mon, 02 Apr 2012
Metformin, one of the most commonly used treatments for patients with type 2 diabetes, has been shown that it could help to prevent the onset of primary liver cancer, according to a new study.

Scientists in the United States, whose research was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, found that metformin was able to prevent primary liver cancer in mice, so that they experienced substantially fewer tumours and reduced levels of glucose than those who did not receive the drug.

Primary liver cancer is known as one of the fastest-growing causes of cancer-related deaths, and type 2 diabetics are at a two or three times greater risk of developing the condition than those without diabetes. Metformin has already been linked with the prevention of a range of other cancers.

Study lead Geoffrey D. Girnun, said "Based on these findings, we believe metformin should be evaluated as a preventive agent in people who are at high risk. Many patients with diabetes already are taking this medication, with few side effects."

He added "Our study is the first to formally test whether metformin can protect against carcinogenesis - not just tumor growth and development, but actual tumor formation in the liver." The researchers now hope to carry out clinical trials on metformin to examine its anti-cancer benefits for type 2 diabetes patients.
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