Metformin could be used as a new form of treatment for prostate cancer, according to new study which highlights further potential health benefits of the type 2 diabetes drug .
Less than a month after metformin use was linked with improved brain function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, experts at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, have now revealed that it may be able to stunt the growth of prostate cancer cells.
For their study, the researchers tested the cheap prescription medication on 22 men who had been diagnosed with tumours and were set to undergo prostate removal surgery.
In the six weeks leading up to their operatio, each patient was given 500mg of metformin three times a day. During this period, the researchers reported that the cancerous cells grew at a significantly slower rate once the patients started their metformin course, suggesting the drug could keep tumours under control.
Lead investigator Dr Anthony Joshua, a cancer specialist at Princess Margaret Hospital, said: “We compared what the prostate cancer looked like when it was first diagnosed to what it looked like when it was removed.
“Although these are preliminary results, it appeared to reduce the growth rate of prostate cancer in a proportion of men.”
The results, which were presented at the recent American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago, support findings from a similar study in 2009, which found that diabetic men using metformin on daily basis were 44 per cent less likely to develop prostate cancer.

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