One of the metabolic diseases that is rapidly affecting millions of people worldwide is Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes may either be lifestyle related (develops through time-type II) or juvenile in onset (type I). It is a state wherein the blood sugar level remains in a high amount due to the inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin (hormone that transports glucose or sugar into the cells) or the inability of the insulin receptors to work with the insulin. As a result, excessive urination (polyuria), intense desire to each (polyphagia) and increase thirst (polydipsia) occurs.
In addition, Diabetes can be managed by proper diet, exercise and medications (for type II) and insulin for the type I. So as the other names imply, type I DM is an Insulin-Dependent type of Diabetes while the other is Non-Dependent. A drug under Biguanide class is Metformin, used to control high blood sugar by taking orally for type II DM patients. It helps reduce blood sugar levels by disrupting the liver in its production of glucose.
On the other hand, breast cancer is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity among the different cancer types occurring in women. The cells in the breast proliferate and uncontrollably multiply causing tumor that can be fatal. Breast cancer is also one of the cancers that can be developed by DM patients, together with liver and pancreatic cancers. The etiology of mounting breast cancer depends on the internal and external chemicals that plays role in the rise of it, like genes, carcinogens, etc.
Study by a Michigan State University researchers found out the relationship between Metformin and incidence of developing breast cancer. It was then figured out through and experiment of miniature human breast tumors, or mammospheres exposed to estrogen (hormone that can cause breast cancer in excess amount and prolonged exposure) to promote the formation of tumor. However, they add up Metformin to the mammospheres leading to inhibition of the multiplication of the breast cells.
The research, led by pediatrics professor James Trosko and colleagues from South Korea’s Seoul National University are the ones provided the evidence of the said study. “While future studies are needed to understand the exact mechanism by which metformin works to reduce the growth of breast cancers, this study reveals the need to determine if the drug might be used as a preventive drug and for individuals who have no indication of any existing cancers,” commented by Trosko.
Another good part in the study is that Metformin is highly inexpensive drug compared to the cancer drugs. Thus, if proven to be effective and safe for use in hampering the development of breast cancer as well as liver and pancreatic cancers, then this will be beneficial to the patients, mostly DM patients. Further study will still have to be running to investigate on the said issue.