PCRI’s Executive Director, Mark Scholz, MD, discusses the off-label use of Metformin as a treatment for prostate cancer. He describes the limitations of studies conducted up to this point, explains the logic of Metformin’s anti-cancer potential, and describes situations in which it is wise to consider using Metformin as part of a treatment plan.
:09 Metformin is a medicine typically used to treat people with diabetes by lowering their blood sugar. It is mild and relatively safe for people without diabetes since it does not usually cause a significant decline in blood sugar. Retrospective studies have shown that men who had both prostate cancer and diabetes simultaneously lived longer (as it concerned their prostate cancer) if they took Metformin compared to men who did not take Metformin.
1:16 The reason why Metformin would have an anti-cancer effect is that it lowers insulin, a growth hormone that stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells. There are not, however, any prospective studies that test the use of Metformin as an isolated treatment on large groups of men without diabetes.
2:14 Despite the lack of conclusive empirical studies, men with prostate cancer (especially men with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer) might want to consider talking to their doctor about using Metformin in conjunction with their other treatments since it is mild, inexpensive, and there are strong logical reasons to believe it improve outcomes.
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