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Metformin and reduced risk of cancer in diabetic patients *

Metformin, widely given to patients with type 2 diabetes, works by targeting the enzyme AMPK (AMP activated protein kinase), which induces muscles to take up glucose from the blood. A recent breakthrough has found the upstream regulator of AMPK to be a protein kinase known as LKB1. LKB1 is a well recognised tumour suppressor. Activation of AMPK by metformin and exercise requires LKB1, and this would also explain why exercise is beneficial in the primary and secondary prevention of certain cancers.We hypothesise that metformin use in patients with type 2 diabetes may reduce their risk of cancer.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 09-08-2010
Authors: Josie M M Evans, Louise A Donnelly, Alistair M Emslie-Smith, Dario R Alessi, Andrew D Morris
Source: BMJ 2005; 330 : 1304 doi: 10.1136/bmj.38415.708634.F7 (Published 22 April 2005)