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Takingcontrol58: Metformin & restoring Progesterone Receptor Status?

Posts: 317
Joined: May 2012

I am gearing up for appointments with my endocrinologist, my PCP and my gyn oncologist in December.  Takingcontrol58, I have bookmarked several of your posts and, in my head, I am crediting you with pointing out studies that show Metformin is/may be effective in re-booting a depleted Progesterone Receptor Status.  But I can't find the reference.  Does this ring a bell?  If so, would you be kind enough to refresh my memory where the citation is? 

I want to talk to my Doc about Metformin use by those of us who are not diabetic or pre-diabetic.  I know my gyn oncologist won't discuss it further; he says come back to him about it in 2020 after the clinical trials with Metformin and chemo drugs ongoing now have reported.  If I want to try Metformin, my best bet is my endocrinologist or maybe the integrative oncologist I will see in February 2018.  But I want to have in mind why I think it could benefit me and have some research to back that up. 

I go soon for an adrenal function test, and if, as I suspect, my adrenal gland is still totally suppressed, I will need a steroidal replacement. I want to discuss going back on Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) for that purpose and get off hydrocortisone.  Provera is what put my adrenal gland into hibernation and if it is true that it kept me in remission for several years, I conclude that my progesterone receptor status has faded and that's why I had a recurrence this year.  If Metformin is indicated in re-booting P receptor status then I want to go back on it.

Again, if this benefit of Metformin rings a bell and you can put your hands on a citation, I'd appreciate it.  Thank you.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

Posts: 311
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 311
Joined: Oct 2017

BTW my PCP did not have any trouble prescribing me Metformin (850 mg x 2 ) even though at the time she prescribed (three weeks ago) my Hb1ac was 5.1% and fasting BG was 79. I described the clinical study to my PCP but coming from me she did not find it credible. Thank God she gave a call to my oncologist and he explained the rationale. Maybe your primary care provider instead of a specialist can give you a prescription. 

In addition to chemo (carbo/taxol) and Metformin, I am also on Megestrol (80 mg x 2). I am trying to follow a ketogenic diet and measure my blood glucose and ketone levels frequently. What I found is chemo and especially the steroids given during chemo increase blood glucose levels. I have 105-106 fasting BG on the days I am on steroids. On other days I am having a hard time keeping my BG in the 70-90 range also even though my ketone levels are 1.1.-1.7. I found out that Megestrol also increases BG levels which is a bit frustrating. Made me think that maybe all I am doing is canceling each other. With your post I now convinced myself that maybe they are helping each other :)

I still don't know my specific mutations and the hormonal receptors of the tumor. I got a second opinion from UCSF and a third opinion from Stanford. Apparently Stanford asked for my slides and they still have not returned them. UCSF wants to restain the tumor and rerun the pathology and run a genomic profiling of the tumor but CPMC (where my original oncologist is ) does not let go of the blocks until Stanford returns the slides. I am so disappointed that information that could be vital for me is not available to me for three weeks due to inefficiencies. Another source of disappointment is my insurance company. I have BCBS PPO. Even though all three oncologists agree Avastin could be helpful for me, insurance company rejected it. My oncologist says he is going to appeal but not sure they are putting a ton of effort. Has anyone appealed and ended up getting the drug?

Posts: 1153
Joined: Jun 2016

I think this is what you are looking for:


See section 4 titled "Metformin and endometrial cancer" at the bottom of the 3rd onto the 4th pages.

If pasting the link doesn't work google the title "Metformin use and gynecological cancers: A novel treatment option emerging from drug repositioning" dated June 16, 2016.

Posts: 317
Joined: May 2012

Thank you all. I will look at the linked pubs in the morning and report back.  Oldbeauty

Posts: 263
Joined: Jan 2016

Old Beauty,

MAbound quoted a good article I am familiar with. SF73 quoted a good article that I had 
not seen before, which talks about progesterone.  Below is another article to use for
reference:  Remember, metformin does so much more than just lower glucose, but I 
don't think most oncologists know this. And I was not diabetic- I was considered 
pre-diabetic so hopefully I'll never be diabetic while on this drug.  My father died from
complications of Type 2 diabetes.

www.pubmed.gov- PMID22701483 "Metformin, an emerging new therapeutic option for
targeting cancer stem cells and metastasis." June 2012.

I wanted to give you an older article so you can show your onc that they have known about
the anti-cancer benefits of metformin for a long time.  I believe they first discovered them
in 2006. You have to wonder why they have not fast tracked this miraculous drug. I think
it is because it is cheap and it works.

You can tell you onc you know a women who was in the trial he referenced- the trial ends in
Sep 2019, though results don't usually come out much later. You can let him know not 
everyone can wait that long. You can tell him I was in the trial for one month, then removed
myself and got on metformin (the trial is a random trial so I may have been getting the
placebo, and they won't tell me until the trial ends.)  After 3 chemo infusions of Taxol/Carbo
and one month on metformin 30cm of metastatic tumors vanished. It took another five months
to get rid of the remaining 4cm.  Unfortunately, my results won't be part of the trial.  I fear
that the trial may have been set up to fail-  they are testing for 3 mutations popular in EC-I had
one of those mutations. But the women with these mutations were not guaranteed the drug, who
the drug was more likely to help. The mutations were on the Pi3K pathway the most mutated
pathway in EC, and metformin targets this pathway.  I'd be happy to speak with your onc if he
is interested.

I just found a new article the other day at www.pubmed.gov entitled "Metformin and Pancreatic
Cancer Metabolism." On page 167 of the article, there is a great chart mapping out all the pathways
and such that metformin targets, with a detailed explanation of each below the diagram. The diagram
is labeled Figure 3. Metformin impairs signaling molecules for cancer survival.

It doesn't matter that the article talks about pancreatic cancer. Metformin is known to be effective
for all types of cancer- endometrial, ovarian, breast, liver, pancreatic, thyroid, colon, prostate,
melanoma and glioblastoma. Many of these cancers are caused by similar risk factors and common gene mutations.

There is alot of good information in the article on all the pathways that metformin is involved in-
most of these are also affected in endometrial cancer.  Cancer is cancer.  We all have the same organs,
genes, pathways, etc. You'll also get the history of metformin, chemopreventive properties, glucose lowering
properties, anti-lipogenic drug.  It's all these things that metformin does that make it such a miraculous drug for
cancer patients. And if you happen to have some of the health issues andkey mutations metformin targets, I think
you might have miraculous results like I did. It is an ideal targeted therapy if you have a certain
cancer profile.

In the end, you will most likely have to get the drug from your PCP or endocrinologist or integrative
oncologist. It is unfortunate your oncologist is not enlightened. I hope you can enlighten him.


Posts: 317
Joined: May 2012

I will use each of the articles you ladies cited for my consultation with my doctor(s). Thanks again for your responses.  Best wishes. Oldbeauty

Posts: 263
Joined: Jan 2016

You may want to take the article I just posted this morning to your doctor.

DNA Pioneer James Watson:  The cancer moonshot is crap but there is still hope"

I just found it last night.




derMaus's picture
Posts: 561
Joined: Nov 2016

Good article. What about his anti antioxidant stance? I've wondered the same thing myself. 

Posts: 263
Joined: Jan 2016

I started taking many antioxidants while I was on the chemo and metformin,
plus starting drinking my daily smoothie, made mostly with berries and the antioxidants.
I still drink this same smoothie to this very day.

He mentions that when the STAT3 gene is turned on, the cancer cells become filled with antioxidants.
But I was on metformin, which turns off the STAT3 gene, so perhaps the antioxidants
weren't in my cancer cells but protected my normal cells from the dangerous effects of chemo.
I only had minor side effects from the chemo and went into total remission.  I think it is the right
combination of a group of treatments that is how you heal cancer.  You have to come at the cancer
from many directions.  Remember, you have many more normal cells to protect than cancer
cells to kill.


Again, my integrative oncologist was a molecular biologist, so I think he may have known all
this when he put me on the metformin and supplements.

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