METformin And Longevity (METAL)

METformin And Longevity (METAL)

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common male cancer in the UK and is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths, accounting for 11,000 deaths in men in the UK annually.

The etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of PCa is not as thoroughly researched compared to breast, lung and colorectal cancer, despite being a significant burden on patients and public health finances. As it stands only three risk factors have been identified for PCa: age, race, and family history of PCa. Due to this small number of risk factors being identified, PCa prevention remains an important area of research.

Recently, metabolic syndrome (MetS), a metabolic disorder formed by a combination of factors including high blood pressure, obesity, glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes) and raised blood lipids, has been linked to a more aggressive form of PCa in some men. However, the exact mechanism underpinning this has not been well defined.

Metformin, a commonly used antidiabetic drug, has been associated with reduced PCa risk, possibly through its ability to influence MetS. However, the exact mechanism by which metformin effects prostate cancer tissue remains unknown.

In this two-year study we will investigate how tumor components are affected by metformin using prostate tissue taken from participant's original biopsy and their prostatectomies. Eligible patients will have localized prostate cancer and be scheduled for a prostatectomy within four weeks. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either metformin or a placebo on a daily basis. Tissue from before and after surgery will then be used in order to determine whether select markers, important in prostate cancer progression, change. This study will aid in identifying metformin as a potentially suitable therapeutic treatment of PCa and add to the existing understanding on how it exerts any anticancer effect.

Funded by the Moulton Foundation, “Therapeutic use of metformin in preventing prostate cancer progression”, (PI: Mieke Van Hemelrijck; Co-PIs: Sarah Rudman, Guy’s Hospital; Massimo Loda, Dana Farber Cancer Institute).