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How Metformin Influences Breast Cancer Risk

May 29, 2021
Editor: David L. Joffe, BSPharm, CDE, FACA

Author: Macrina Ghali, PharmD Candidate 2021, Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Study examines the complex relationship between type 2 diabetes, metformin use, and breast cancer subtype 

Previous studies in women with type 2 diabetes found a 20% higher risk of breast cancer, which may be due to the activation of insulin and insulin-like growth factors on the breast tissue or through alterations in sex hormones.  The mechanism of action of metformin may provide a benefit in breast cancer reduction by improving insulin sensitivity. In addition, metformin may inhibit cancer cell proliferation and invasion and enhance resistance to chemotherapy. However, little evidence is currently available regarding the association between metformin use and breast cancer risk. As the first-line treatment option according to both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), the prevalent use of metformin may reveal a relationship between its use and the variable risk of developing different forms of breast cancer....


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