Metformin- cancer benefits on one page

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takingcontrol58
takingcontrol58 Member Posts: 272 Member
edited November 2017 in Uterine/Endometrial Cancer #1

Ladies,
Since some of you are asking me to post my list on the benefits of metformin. Below is a list of 13 ways that metformin
targets cancer.  There are other many other processes involved but I'll start with some of the basics.

Most people are aware of metformin as the leading diabetes drug in the world.  It was first approved in Europe in the 1950s;
then Canada in the 1970s- it was approved for diabetes treatment in the US in 1995. 

Below is a list of 13 anti-cancer benefits of metformin- all this data was derived from various medical journal articles
published at the website of the National Institutes of Health - www.pubmed.gov. It is the web site that doctors use.
I would recommend this site if you want to delve deeper into some of the items below.  


1) Metformin lowers blood glucose (improves insuln sensitivity). It is most well known for being given to diabetics to
lower blood sugar.  84million people in the US are pre-diabetic (blood glucose between 100-125). This is considered
pre-diabetes.  Metformin can prevent you from advancing to full-blown diabetes if you are pre-diabetic. Diabetes is
a key risk factor for many cancers, including endometrial cancer.

2) Metformin regulates insulin levels- high insulin levels are a key driver of cancer. 

3) Metformin lowers insulin like growth factor levels (IGF-1) IGF-1 is considered a fertilizer for cancer growth and is usually raised at
the diagnois of endometrial cancer.  It is very important to get this blood test on a regular basis to measure for cancer and
cancer recurrence. IGF-1 is made in the liver, one of the key locations for cancer metastasis. The liver also stores glucose
and iron.  The liver is where the food supply is for cancer.

4) Metformin inactivates the PI3K/Akt/Mtor pathway - this pathway is mutated in over 90% of all cancers and over 80% of
all endometrial cancers-  this pathway regulates insulin- so if metformin regulates insulin, you can see why it is so
beneficial for many cancer patients.  Any woman with endometrial cancer should have genomic testing to test for all
mutation variants of this pathway. Metformin might help you if your pathway is activated.  There are some cancer drugs
already targeting this pathway (Everolimus, Temsirolius and many more in development, but so far they have not seen
good results with these cancer drugs. High IGF-1 levels and loss of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN are believed to
activate this pathway (see #3). So you start to see how this is all tied together. If you have high IGF-1 levels, perhaps
that caused the mutation of your pathway, or loss of PTEN.

5) Metformin inhibits angiogenesis- the formation of new blood vessels that feed the cancer- if you have metastasis, you
have angiogenesis- Avastin targets angiogenesis with little success.  Cancer cells alone aren't the problem- it's when
billions of cancer cells come together to form a tumor with angiogenesis, that you actually have cancer.  Angiogenesis is
the process needed for those cancer cells to form a tumor. The blood vessels deliver the food supply to the tumor.

6) Metformin decreseases VEGF- Vasular Endothelial Growth Factor- causes angiogenesis - see #5

8) Metformin targets cancer stem cells- these are the cells left behind that cause new cancer to form and are believe to be
the cause of chemo resistance.  It is believed that chemotherapy kills the daughter cells but not the cancer stem cells that
go on to grow new cancer - there is no cancer drug that targets cancer stem cells

9) Metformin establishes expression of TP53- this is the key tumor suppressor in our bodies and is frequently turned off
in cancer.  It is frequently mutated in endometrial serous adenocarcinoma.

10) Metformin inhibits the WNT pathway- this is another pathway frequently mutated in endometrial cancer - many cancers
have a mutation of this pathway- there are no available cancer drugs that target this important pathway.
This pathway is also involved in triple negative breast cancer.

11) Metformin inhibits NFKB-NF-KappaB-  this is the inflammatory pathway- it is a key target in cancer therapy. Inflammation
is one of the key drivers of cancer, along with many other diseases.  Research into notch activation is of growing clinical
and commercial relevance.

12) Metformin reverses EMT - endothelial to mesenchymal transition - a critical process involved in cancer metastasis

13) Metformin inhibits estrogen production in women without diabetes- good for women with breast cancer

 

As you can see, the reason that metformin has been shown to be successful in treating many different cancers is because it
addresses moany of the key processes involved in the feeding, creation and spread of cancer.  The pharmaceutical companies
are trying to develop cancer drugs that do what metformin already does.  You would have to take about ten different drugs to
get the benefits of what metformin does in one pill (if those drugs existed). Even if you don't have high blood sugar, you can see
all the things that metformin does to stop cancer. Personally, I was pre-diabetic when first diagnosed with EC. Metformin attacks
cancer from many directions, not just one. You still may have other factors driving your cancer, but metformin may help 
address many of the cancer causing processes in general. You need to address as many of the factors as you can that are 
driving your cancer

Many of the studies have shown that metformin prevents you from dlying from cancer. That doesn't mean it will put everyone in compete remission
but perhaps it will slow down your cancer or lead to a longer progression free survival (without having to get more dangerous chemo
or radiation or surgery).

Hope this is helpful is learning about some of the key pathways and processes involved in cancer formation and metastasis.  It is important
to understand what cancer is so you can utilize the proper treatment for your particular situation.

Takingcontrol58

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • rcdeman
    rcdeman Member Posts: 263 Member
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    Thanks for this informative

    Thanks for this informative post about metformin, takingcontrol. I know you are a huge advocate of it. May I ask you what 40+ supplements you take as well?

    Can I ask how you were able to convince your doctor to prescribe you this drug? My mother just finished her frontline treatment. Her BS levels are normal and she is not diabetic. How would I convince her doctor to give her a prescription of metformin? I asked her med. onc. and he basically disregarded our request for a prescription of metformin on grounds that there's no proof of effectiveness. I'm considering to take my mom to her PCP to ask for a prescription, but I have a feeling we may also be shut down on that front.




    Thanks!
    Rebecca




  • takingcontrol58
    takingcontrol58 Member Posts: 272 Member
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    Getting metformin

    Rebecca,
    The integrative oncologist that put me on the drug was ahead of his time. The anti-cancer benefits of metformin were
    discovered in 2005- my doctor started prescribing the drug in 2006.  I currently get metformin from my gynecological
    oncologist. My current integrative oncologist also prescribes the drug to his patients.

    You definitely will have to get the presctiption from your mom's PCP or perhaps even her gynecologist- they prescribe metformin for a
    condition called PCOS- poly cystic ovary syndrome, which is caused by insulin resistance. I don't know if a doctor can legally refuse to
    prescribe a drug that could help you. There are over 300 trials with metformin and various cancers. I got out of the trial I was in and
    my integrative oncologist put me on the drug. I couldn't risk getting a placebo for a drug that costs $5/month.  I probably would have died
    if I had not been prescribed this drug. I had to take control of my situation to live.  I think every cancer patient does have to take control.

    Since metformin is not officially a cancer drug, the oncologists who don't do their homework seem to be against it.   There is plenty of
    proof of its effectiveness.  They would have to prescribe off-label so that is one of their excuses. But most chemotherapy is prescribed
    off-label. There are over 3000 articles, which include past studies, on metformin and cancer at the website I mentioned in my metformin list- www.pubmed.gov.

    You might want to print one of the articles and bring it with you- there are so many great articles that detail all that metformin does- it
    is particularly benfeicial for endometrial cancer because endometrial cancer cells have alot of insulin receptors on their surface. 

    Here is a quote from Wired magazine by Dr. Lewis Cantley, a key researcher who has won many awards and who runs the Weill Cornell
    Meyer Cancer Center in NYC. "Metformin may have already saved more people from cancer deaths than any drug in history."
    The artilce was sent to me by Nellasing. Dr. Cantley knows alot about metformin because he is the one who discovered the PI3K/Akt/Mtor
    pathway 25 years ago. He knows how metformin works.

    If your mother has advanced or metastatic cancer, you have to do more than just get chemo and radiation.

    Takingcontrol58

  • Nellasing
    Nellasing Member Posts: 528 Member
    edited September 2017 #4
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    Hi Rebecca,

    Just a note to say that I got my naturopathic Dr. to give me the metformin.  I don't know if you ever looked into a naturopath for your mom or if where you live they are readily available as they are here???  But if not, I second Takingcontrol58 when you go see your mom's pcp take in not one or two but several studies, and even Takingcontrol's wonderful emails and perhaps some of the responses on other threads where others are also on metformin not because they have anything of the on label reasons but because we have cancer and want to give ourselves our best chance.  Do not be timid- say I want a prescription and don't take no for an answer.  The drug is well seasoned and proven not to be harmful so what could they possibly object to?  I think you have some valid concerns if she isn't willing or able to give up what turns to sugar in our body.

    I read your other thread- so glad you and your mama are through treatment- mine will be 1 year as of 9/21 so we are sort of twins ;)  I get it when you say it seems anticlimactic at the end- my gyn/onc told me to "put it in a box and move on"  REALLY?!  I didn't get a scan and the only blood test I do get is at my 3 mo ck ups.  You do wonder if they got it all- was all this successful???  So weird that they don't want to give us that peace of mind but believe me- they don't seem to want to do that.  No one has actually even told me I am NED- they just say "everything looks good" and off I go..... unsettling to say the least.  But as you say, we just go on, we live one day at a time and make the most of the precious days we do have.

    Much love to you and your mama- come back and keep us posted when you can.  We'll be thinking of you.  (((HUGS)))

  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
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    Getting metformin

    Rebecca,
    The integrative oncologist that put me on the drug was ahead of his time. The anti-cancer benefits of metformin were
    discovered in 2005- my doctor started prescribing the drug in 2006.  I currently get metformin from my gynecological
    oncologist. My current integrative oncologist also prescribes the drug to his patients.

    You definitely will have to get the presctiption from your mom's PCP or perhaps even her gynecologist- they prescribe metformin for a
    condition called PCOS- poly cystic ovary syndrome, which is caused by insulin resistance. I don't know if a doctor can legally refuse to
    prescribe a drug that could help you. There are over 300 trials with metformin and various cancers. I got out of the trial I was in and
    my integrative oncologist put me on the drug. I couldn't risk getting a placebo for a drug that costs $5/month.  I probably would have died
    if I had not been prescribed this drug. I had to take control of my situation to live.  I think every cancer patient does have to take control.

    Since metformin is not officially a cancer drug, the oncologists who don't do their homework seem to be against it.   There is plenty of
    proof of its effectiveness.  They would have to prescribe off-label so that is one of their excuses. But most chemotherapy is prescribed
    off-label. There are over 3000 articles, which include past studies, on metformin and cancer at the website I mentioned in my metformin list- www.pubmed.gov.

    You might want to print one of the articles and bring it with you- there are so many great articles that detail all that metformin does- it
    is particularly benfeicial for endometrial cancer because endometrial cancer cells have alot of insulin receptors on their surface. 

    Here is a quote from Wired magazine by Dr. Lewis Cantley, a key researcher who has won many awards and who runs the Weill Cornell
    Meyer Cancer Center in NYC. "Metformin may have already saved more people from cancer deaths than any drug in history."
    The artilce was sent to me by Nellasing. Dr. Cantley knows alot about metformin because he is the one who discovered the PI3K/Akt/Mtor
    pathway 25 years ago. He knows how metformin works.

    If your mother has advanced or metastatic cancer, you have to do more than just get chemo and radiation.

    Takingcontrol58

    Good Luck

    My oncologist refused to prescribe metformin and my PCP didn't want to cross her at the time. But should I face a reoccurrence I will be more aggressive in demanding it. Doctors prescribe off label all the time. BTW I had pre-diabetes at the time and my sugar really spiked during chemo with the steroids. It's okay now. It's a shame that we have to fight for something as relatively harmless as metformin in the scheme of things. 

  • Kvdyson
    Kvdyson Member Posts: 790 Member
    edited September 2017 #6
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    Clinical trial GOG-0286B which includes Metformin

    Hi everyone, just saw a post on another on-line support group that included information on this clinical trial for Carbo + Taxol with and without Metformin and wanted to share it in case anyone is interested in finding out more (you may have to copy and paste it into your browser if the link doesn't work):

    https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/search/view?cdrid=758254#link/EntryCriteria_CDR0000758254

  • oldbeauty
    oldbeauty Member Posts: 368 Member
    Options
    Doctor Support

    I see an endocrinologist for an adrenal gland issue and I asked her about Metformin when I saw her in August.  She is from eastern Europe originally and she responded that "Metformin should be in the water supply."  I'm sure she was being somewhat facetious but acknowledged its many benefits.  Curiously, my gyn-onc is one of the listed Principal Investigators in the Carbo/Taxol w/ and w/o Metformin trials that Kvdyson linked to.  He did not tell me about the trial but I suspect I was ineligible because of another health issue.  I just had my post-chemo PET/CT today and see him on Wednesday.  I am going to raise the subject with him then.  I had an unusually good experience with high-dose progesterone (5-yr remission), I am open to unconventional approaches now.  I am in my 3rd go-round with this cancer and I am not so confident about my luck holding out all that much longer.  Thanks for the summary Takingcontrol58.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

  • takingcontrol58
    takingcontrol58 Member Posts: 272 Member
    Options
    oldbeauty said:

    Doctor Support

    I see an endocrinologist for an adrenal gland issue and I asked her about Metformin when I saw her in August.  She is from eastern Europe originally and she responded that "Metformin should be in the water supply."  I'm sure she was being somewhat facetious but acknowledged its many benefits.  Curiously, my gyn-onc is one of the listed Principal Investigators in the Carbo/Taxol w/ and w/o Metformin trials that Kvdyson linked to.  He did not tell me about the trial but I suspect I was ineligible because of another health issue.  I just had my post-chemo PET/CT today and see him on Wednesday.  I am going to raise the subject with him then.  I had an unusually good experience with high-dose progesterone (5-yr remission), I am open to unconventional approaches now.  I am in my 3rd go-round with this cancer and I am not so confident about my luck holding out all that much longer.  Thanks for the summary Takingcontrol58.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

    Clinical Trial on Metformin or Placebo with Carboplatin/Taxol

    I originally joined the trial Kvdyson mentions in January 2015 at MSKCC.  I removed myself from the trial one month later
    after my first meeting with my integrative oncologist who gave me a prescription for metformin because I was insulin resistant.
    Sloan called my doctor unethical for putting me on a drug I needed.  That made me very suspicious.

    Metformin is a drug a doctor can just prescribe for you. It has been around since the 1950s. You don't have to be in a trial to
    get the drug, though most people are probably not aware of this.

    I don't understand why they are wasting money with these metformin trials and risking people's lives if they already know what
    metformin targets.  You had to be Stage III or Stage IV or have recurrent endometrial cancer to be in the trial. How can you play
    with people's lives over a $5 drug?  This isn't some new unknown, drug. It is one of the most prescribed drugs in the
    world.  The woman from Eastern Europe is correct.  Metformin was approved in Europe in the 1950s.

    As you can see, I get a bit riled up over this.  They continue to recruit for this study which concerns me that some of the
    people are dying who entered the trial.  One of the other issues with the trial is that they didn't ensure that those of us with
    the specific mutation that metformin targets (an activated PI3K pathway), were guaranteed to get the drug.  Those are
    the people that the drug might help the most. I had this mutation so if I had been getting the placebo and didn't get the
    real drug when i did, i may not have survied. The trial was random.  I don't believe the trial wast set up properly.  Everyone
    in the trial should have gotten the Taxol/Carbo with metformin since all had late stage cancer or they should have given the drug
    to the people with the relevant mutation.  They already knew the low odds of success with Taxol/Carbo for endometrial cancer
    which was why they were doing the trial. That is why it is so important to do your own research. And the trial doesn't end until
    2019-patients with metastatic endometrial cancer can't wait that long when any doctor can prescribe the drug for you. It is not
    in the minds of oncologists because it isn't considered a cancer drug. But it does more things for cancer than any cancer drug on
    the market.

    OldBeauty, why is you onc saying you are ineligible for metformin?  Do you have kidney or liver issues? You can
    always ask your endocrinologist to put you on the drug. Or your internist.  

    Metformin has been quoted in the medical journals as a 'magic" drug. If you need to get on this drug, ask your doctor.
    You can't risk getting a placebo if you have metastatic cancer, which I did.  Unfortunately my results will never be a 
    part of the trial results. The last meeting I had with MSKCC was to review the results of my PET/CT scan in Sept 2015.
    This scan showed me in complete remission and I have been in complete remission ever since. They have never tried
    to contract me.  You would think they would have been more curious about my results since they told me i probably
    had 4-6 mos to live..

    This drug needs to be fast-tracked for cancer ASAP so doctors don't give patients any pushback or excuses. But this drug
    is very cheap and they are only fast tracking expensive immunotherapy drugs, which have been less successful than anticipated.
    Not everyone needs an immunotherapy drug but some people need a drug like metformin that corrects many metabolic dysfunctions
    that drive cancer.

    Takingcontrol58

  • derMaus
    derMaus Member Posts: 558 Member
    Options
    Kvdyson said:

    Clinical trial GOG-0286B which includes Metformin

    Hi everyone, just saw a post on another on-line support group that included information on this clinical trial for Carbo + Taxol with and without Metformin and wanted to share it in case anyone is interested in finding out more (you may have to copy and paste it into your browser if the link doesn't work):

    https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/search/view?cdrid=758254#link/EntryCriteria_CDR0000758254

    Thank you. This is important

    Thank you. This is important news.