Metformin in cancer therapy: A new perspective for an old antidiabetic drug?

Issam Ben Sahra, Yannick Le Marchand-Brustel, Jean François Tanti, Frédéric Bost*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

420 Scopus citations


Metformin is the most widely used antidiabetic drug in the world, and there is increasing evidence of a potential efficacy of this agent as an anticancer drug. First, epidemiological studies show a decrease in cancer incidence in metformin-treated patients. Second, metformin decreases insulin resistance and indirectly reduces insulin level, a beneficial effect because insulin promotes cancer cell growth. Third, several reports outline a direct inhibitory effect of metformin on cancer cell growth and an antitumoral action. Finally, metformin activates the AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, a major sensor of the energetic status of the cell, which has been proposed as a promising therapeutic target in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1092-1099
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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