Diabetes drug metformin has been found to not only address the debilitating insulin disease but also lower the risk of lung cancer.
According to a recent study by a research scientist in Oakland, California, diabetic nonsmokers who regularly took metformin had lower likelihood of developing lung cancer. The study team, led by Dr. Lori Sakoda of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, looked into previous observational and laboratory to obtain records of more than 47,000 patients diagnosed with diabetes. The study cross-referenced the patient’s usage of metformin with development of lung cancer across a 15-year window, according to a news item.
Results revealed that while use of metformin did not significantly translate to an overall low risk of lung cancer, nonsmoking diabetics were found with 43 percent lower risk compared to smokers. In addition, longer period of metformin use was linked to further decrease in lung cancer risk, although the difference was not significant.
The research team was surprised with the discovery of the link between metformin and lung cancer. “Our results suggesting that the risk associated with metformin might differ by smoking history were unexpected,” Sakoda said. “Our results suggest that risk might differ by smoking history, with metformin decreasing risk among nonsmokers and increasing risk among current smokers.” The team recommends further investigation on the matter, particularly on whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the diabetes drug and lung cancer treatment.