Usually used as a diabetic medication, Metformin is now being tested in clinical trials for treating different forms of cancers. This is attributed to studies that found it’s ability to suppress tumour growth via the activation of AMPK, a potent regulator of cell metabolism.
However, this may not be the case as further studies found that the ability of metformin to stop cancer is via it’s inhibition of mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR). Metformin has also been known to inhibit pro-cancer molecules such as insulin. All these mechanisms may or may not act independently of one another.
Thus, the current issue does not dispute the usefulness of meformin as a potential cancer treatment drug but rather the drug’s main mechanism of suppressing tumour growth should be clear. Understanding that metformin can have more than one pathways that suppress tumour growth can help clinicians in data interpretations during clinical trials.
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