Massachusetts General Hospital researchers found evidence that metformin, a common drug used to treat insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, could lessen symptoms of the most common form of pancreatic cancer.
According to a press release, metformin was shown to decrease the severity of fibrosis (the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue) and inflammation in those with a cancer known as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. For the study, researchers tested metformin in animal and cellular models, as well as in tumor samples from patients with this cancer. According to the study results, obese mice were more capable of breaking down the fibrous tissue that grows in this cancer, and were less likely to have their cancer metastasize.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is responsible for 40,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Prior to the study, researchers knew that those with Type 2 diabetes using metformin were somewhat less likely to have cancer. This group also had a lower mortality rate if they developed a cancerous tumor. The research team will continue to study metformin’s possible potential to shrink tumors in those with diabetes and those who don’t have diabetes.