Pharmaceutical International News - June 2012
Diabetes Treatment Could Lower Breast Cancer Risk
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 12/06/2012 - 05:30:00
A popular diabetes treatment drug could make older women less at risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study.
Previously linked to the prevention of a range of other conditions including liver cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer, metformin seems to have an effect on breast cancer, too, the new study's authors suggest. They found that, for diabetic postmenopausal women taking metformin, there was a 25 per cent reduction in new breast cancer diagnoses, compared to those not on the drug.
Data produced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there's something like 25.8 million diabetics living in the United States alone. Of these, up to 95 per cent have type 2 diabetes, which compromises the body's natural insulin manufacturing and deployment processes.
Metformin: Diabetes Treatment
Metformin's a long-established diabetes treatment. First approved by British drug regulators as long ago as 1958, it's been in use in the US for almost two decades.
The researchers involved in the metformin breast cancer study examined data related to almost 70,000 women, aged from 50 to 79. Diabetes was common to 3,401 participants while, during the study period, over 3,000 new breast cancer cases emerged. Automatically removed from the trial were pre-existing breast cancer patients, alongside early-onset diabetics.
Metformin: Breast Cancer
Study co-author Doctor Rowan Chlebowski from California's Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and the others involved in this metformin breast cancer research warn against drawing a definite link between metformin and breast cancer prevention but state the foundations are now in place for further investigations.
An association's definitely been revealed, they explain, but not a clear cause-and-effect relationship.
"It's too soon to change clinical practice", Boston-based medical oncologist, Jennifer Ligibel, stressed in a statement. "While a number of other studies have suggested metformin has a role in preventing breast cancer and its recurrence, I would not recommend women take metformin for breast cancer prevention based on the data we have now."
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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