Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant breakthrough in prostate cancer treatment with the diabetes drug metformin.
Their study reveals that metformin could be particularly effective in preventing the progression of certain types of prostate cancer.
Targeting Low-NKX3.1 Tumors with Metformin
The study, led by Alex Papachristodoulou, Ph.D., and his team, found that metformin is most effective for tumors with low levels of NKX3.1, a protein often associated with aggressive prostate cancers.
Metformin works by restoring mitochondrial activity in cancer cells, which is usually impaired in low-NKX3.1 tumors.
The drug showed promising results in preventing cancer progression in mice and is linked to better survival rates in patients with low-NKX3.1 tumors.
Metformin’s Role in Early-Stage Prostate Cancer
Most newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients have low-grade tumors that are monitored rather than immediately treated. However, some of these tumors can become aggressive.
Metformin could be a valuable tool for patients in this early stage, potentially preventing their cancer from advancing to a more dangerous level.
“Metformin could be given to patients under surveillance with high-risk tumors when there’s still time to prevent progression to advanced disease,” explains Cory Abate-Shen, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics.
Implications for Future Prostate Cancer Treatment
The study’s findings are reinvigorating the potential use of metformin, a safe and inexpensive drug, in prostate cancer care. Plans for a clinical trial to test metformin in newly diagnosed patients are underway.
This research could significantly impact the management of prostate cancer, especially for those in the early stages of the disease.
Additionally, metformin might help address disparities in prostate cancer treatment, particularly among Black men who are more likely to develop aggressive forms of the disease.
In summary, the research from Columbia University offers new hope in the fight against prostate cancer.
By identifying the specific conditions under which metformin is most effective, scientists are paving the way for more targeted and effective treatments.
If you care about prostate cancer, please read studies about 5 types of bacteria linked to aggressive prostate cancer, and new strategy to treat advanced prostate cancer.
For more information about prostate cancer, please see recent studies about new way to lower risk of prostate cancer spread, and results showing three-drug combo boosts survival in metastatic prostate cancer.
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