Metformin: A metabolic disruptor and anti-diabetic drug to target human leukemia

Célia Rosilio, Issam Ben-Sahra, Frédéric Bost, Jean François Peyron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


There is a global and urgent need for expanding our current therapeutical arsenal against leukemia in order to improve their actual cure rates and fight relapse. Targeting the reprogrammed, altered cancer metabolism is an emerging strategy which should profoundly affect cancer cells in their intimate and irrepressible needs and addictions for nutrients uptake and incorporation into the biomass during malignant proliferation. We present here how metformin, an anti-diabetic drug that has attracted a strong interest for its recently discovered anti-cancer properties, can be envisioned as a new adjuvant approach to treat leukemia. Metformin may have a double-edged sword effect (i) by acting on the organism to decrease hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinemia in diabetic patients and (ii) at the cellular level, by inhibiting the mTORC1-cancer supporting pathway through AMPK-dependent and independent mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2014


  • AMPK
  • Acute leukemia
  • Adjuvant chemotherapy
  • MTOR
  • Metformin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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