Does metformin improve survival rates in patients with prostate cancer?
In a nutshell
This study investigated if the use of metformin for anti-diabetic therapy improved survival rates in men also treated for prostate cancer.
They found that patients taking metformin may have a greater chance of survival from prostate cancer.
Metformin is a medication that is commonly used to lower blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Some studies suggest it can suppress the growth of cancerous tumors by blocking a cellular pathway.
In the treatment of prostate cancer, patients will typically receive chemotherapy. This works by targeting cells that are growing and multiplying rapidly (such as tumor cells. Studies have shown that patients undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and also taking metformin have greater survival rates.
Methods & findings
This study analyzed the findings of recent clinical reports investigating the association between metformin use and survival rates in prostate cancer patients.
This study included data from 13 clinical reports including 177,490 patients. In these studies, some patients were receiving metformin and were undergoing or had undergone treatment for prostate cancer.
Patients taking metformin had a 21% more likely to have a longer overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause) compared to non-metformin patients. Chances of cancer-specific survival were also increased in metformin patients (by 24%). The risk of cancer recurrence was also lower in metformin patients (decrease of 26%).
The bottom line
This study concluded that patients taking metformin may have a greater chance of survival from prostate cancer.
The fine print
The number of studies included in this study was relatively small for certain analyses. Some information could not be included in the analysis as it was not available (tumor size, disease stage). These factors could also influence the prognosis and survival rates. Future studies should include this to fully understand the benefits (if any) of metformin use in prostate cancer.
If you have any questions regarding prostate cancer treatment, please discuss this with your physician.
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