Research Perspectives:

Metformin and cancer: Quo vadis et cui bono?

Javier A. Menendez _, Begoña Martin-Castillo and Jorge Joven

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:54096-54101. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10262

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Javier A. Menendez1,2, Begoña Martin-Castillo2,3,* and Jorge Joven4

1 Metabolism and Cancer Group, ProCURE (Program Against Cancer Therapeutic Resistance), Catalan Institute of Oncology, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

2 Molecular Oncology Group, Girona Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBGI), Girona, Catalonia, Spain

3 Unit of Clinical Research, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

4 Unitat de Recerca Biomèdica, Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan, IISPV, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia, Reus, Spain

* On behalf of the METTEN-01 Investigators (EudraClinicalTrial Number 2011-000490-30)

Correspondence to:

Javier A. Menendez, email:

Keywords: metformin; cancer; metabolism; pharmacokinetics

Received: May 17, 2016 Accepted: June 03, 2016 Published: June 23, 2016


How many lives have already been saved by the anti-cancer drug metformin? Inadvertently perhaps, among the millions of type 2 diabetics with occult or known cancers and who have been prescribed metformin since the 1950s, thousands may have benefited from the anticancer properties of this first-line pharmacotherapy. Quo vadis? Now, researchers aim to move metformin from a non-targeted stage of cancer therapy that has been mostly developed retrospectively and empirically into a targeted therapy by following a biological rationale and a predefined mechanism of action. But, who might benefit from metformin? Cui bono? Because metformin is on the leading edge of a new generation of cancer metabolism-targeted therapies, perhaps it is the right time to provide solutions to the challenges that metformin and other onco-biguanides will face in the coming years before becoming incorporated into the therapeutic armamentarium against cancer.

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