The commonly used diabetes drug metformin could help patients with ovarian cancer live longer, according to new research published online in the journal Cancer.
Less than a week after the medication was linked to reduced risk of depression and other mood disorders, experts from the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic have revealed that it may also be able to help prolong the lifespan of women suffering from ovarian cancer.
For their study, the researchers assessed 61 women with both diabetes and ovarian cancer who took metformin, and compared them with 178 ovarian cancer patients without diabetes who were not on the drug.
They found that after five years, 67 per cent of those in the metformin treatment group had not died from ovarian cancer, compared to 47 per cent of the non-diabetic patients who didn’t take the diabetes pill.
After taking into account factors such as cancer severity and patients’ body mass index, the investigators concluded that metformin appears to be associated with decreased mortality risk in ovarian cancer patients.
Viji Shridhar, PhD, of the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic, said: “Although causation could not be assessed, we observed that receipt of metformin was associated with significantly better survival in 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,” he added.

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