Metformin and blood cancers


  • Ademar Dantas Cunha Júnior Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Departamento de Medicina Interna
  • Fernando Vieira Pericole Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Departamento de Medicina Interna
  • Jose Barreto Campello Carvalheira Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Departamento de Medicina Interna



Metformin, Diabetes, Blood Cancers, myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma


Type 2 diabetes mellitus and cancer are correlated with changes in insulin signaling, a pathway that is frequently upregulated in neoplastic tissue but impaired in tissues that are classically targeted by insulin in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Many antidiabetes treatments, particularly metformin, enhance insulin signaling, but this pathway can be inhibited by specific cancer treatments. The modulation of cancer growth by metformin and of insulin sensitivity by anticancer drugs is so common that this phenomenon is being studied in hundreds of clinical trials on cancer. Many meta-analyses have consistently shown a moderate but direct effect of body mass index on the incidence of multiple myeloma and lymphoma and the elevated risk of leukemia in adults. Moreover, new epidemiological and preclinical studies indicate metformin as a therapeutic agent in patients with leukemia, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. In this article, we review current findings on the anticancer activities of metformin and the underlying mechanisms from preclinical and ongoing studies in hematologic malignancies.


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How to Cite

Cunha Júnior, A. D., Pericole, F. V., & Carvalheira, J. B. C. (2019). Metformin and blood cancers. Clinics, 73(Suppl. 1), e412s.



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