University of Oulu

Urpilainen, E., Puistola, U., Boussios, S., & Karihtala, P. (2020). Metformin and ovarian cancer: the evidence. Annals of Translational Medicine, 8(24), 1711–1711.

Metformin and ovarian cancer : the evidence

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Author: Urpilainen, Elina1; Puistola, Ulla1; Boussios, Stergios2,3;
Organizations: 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, PEDEGO Research Unit, Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu and University Hospital of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Medical Oncology, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Gillingham, Kent, UK
3AELIA Organization, 9th Km Thessaloniki - Thermi, Thessaloniki, Greece
4Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Oncology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: AME Publishing Company, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-01


In recent decades, great interest in the off-label use of metformin has arisen as a result of its broad effects on different signaling pathways, with only a few side effects, and low cost. Metformin has been shown to have multiple, dose-dependent preclinical anticancer effects, which can be roughly divided into either direct effects via inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I, or indirect effects through lowered glucose, insulin and insulin-like growth factor levels. Further details on in vitro and in vivo anticancer effects specifically in ovarian cancer are continuously reported. Preclinically metformin has clear chemosensitizing effects in ovarian cancer and it is an effective negative regulator of angiogenesis. There are also some epidemiological studies on metformin use in ovarian cancer, but the results of these studies are not as promising as those preclinical studies would indicate. Most preclinical studies have involved metformin concentrations that are many times higher than the pharmacological doses used in patients, which might confound the clinical use of metformin as regards the above-mentioned aspects. In this review we evaluate preclinical and clinical evidence concerning metformin in ovarian cancer treatment.

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Series: Annals of translational medicine
ISSN: 2305-5839
ISSN-E: 2305-5847
ISSN-L: 2305-5839
Volume: 8
Issue: 24
Article number: 1711
DOI: 10.21037/atm-20-1060
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3122 Cancers
3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Copyright information: © Annals of Translational Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits the non-commercial replication and distribution of the article with the strict proviso that no changes or edits are made and the original work is properly cited (including links to both the formal publication through the relevant DOI and the license).