Metformin: How Does This Affect Treatment?

Metformin: How Does This Affect Treatment?

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Curtis McCloskey, PhD of @ottawahospital explains how this affects treatment and clinicians today.


A laboratory study published in Clinical Cancer Research provides a new perspective on how ovarian cancer is developed and suggests how it can be avoided.

The research is the first to demonstrate that with age occurs the normal ovarian stiffening called fibrosis. It also indicates that this cycle may be prevented by the diabetes medication metformin.

"Fibrosis happens when body tissues are repeatedly injured and inflamed, leaving behind hard collagen fibers that pile up over time, like a scar on the skin," said Dr. Curtis McCloskey, the lead author, "Cancer cells tend to like growing in these fibrotic tissues.

Dr. McCloskey performed the research while he was a PhD student in Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden's lab at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, with a 5-year survival rate of 45 percent among the worst. People with a family history of ovarian cancer or a BRCA gene mutation are the most susceptible. There is no accurate early cancer screening study. Birth control pills that reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by half or remove ovaries and fallopian pipes are the only options for prevention.

The team found that ovarian fibrosis is a common part of aging, usually after menopause. Dr. McCloskey was shocked during his research to find an ovary by a 69-year-old woman without fibrosis. Medical records revealed that she took metformin, a type 2 diabetes drug. A Taiwanese study previously showed an 82% decrease in ovarian cancer levels in patients with metformin Type 2 diabetes.

The group conducted a series of trials to explore the relations between ovarian fibrosis, aging and metformin.

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