An unforeseen marriage: Diabetes drug and chemoradiation effectively treat NSCLC

Pairing the diabetes drug, metformin, with chemoradiation therapy treatment for aggressive lung cancer may slow tumor growth and recurrence, according to researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers presented their preliminary findings during an oral abstract session on Oct. 28 at the 15th World Conference on Lung Cancer, according to a Penn Medicine news brief.

Preclinical and clinical results indicate that metformin is an effective radiosensitizer, making tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy, in treatment of stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Metformin is commonly used for type-2 diabetes and has past illustrated anti-cancer effects on numerous cancers, including prostate and colon.

Clinical evidence from 16 diabetic patients treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania between June 2008 and June 2013 with stage III A and B NSCLC and diabetes revealed that chemoradiation therapy, in combination with metformin, markedly improved local recurrence. After a median follow-up time of 10.4 months, only two local recurrences have occurred.

Learn more about the researchers’ findings here.