Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 215–220 | Cite as

Evaluation of metformin in early breast cancer: a modification of the traditional paradigm for clinical testing of anti-cancer agents

  • Pamela J. GoodwinEmail author
  • Vuk Stambolic
  • Julie Lemieux
  • Bingshu E. Chen
  • Wendy R. Parulekar
  • Karen A. Gelmon
  • Dawn L. Hershman
  • Timothy J. Hobday
  • Jennifer A. Ligibel
  • Ingrid A. Mayer
  • Kathleen I. Pritchard
  • Timothy J. Whelan
  • Priya Rastogi
  • Lois E. Shepherd
Brief Report


Metformin, an inexpensive oral agent commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, has been garnering increasing attention as a potential anti-cancer agent. Preclinical, epidemiologic, and clinical evidences suggest that metformin may reduce overall cancer risk and mortality, with specific effects in breast cancer. The extensive clinical experience with metformin, coupled with its known (and modest) toxicity, has allowed the traditional process of drug evaluation to be shortened. We review the rationale for a modified approach to evaluation and outline the key steps that will optimize development of this agent in breast cancer, including discussion of a Phase III adjuvant trial (NCIC MA.32) that has recently been initiated.


Breast cancer Metformin Adjuvant Clinical testing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela J. Goodwin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vuk Stambolic
    • 2
  • Julie Lemieux
    • 3
  • Bingshu E. Chen
    • 4
  • Wendy R. Parulekar
    • 4
  • Karen A. Gelmon
    • 5
  • Dawn L. Hershman
    • 6
  • Timothy J. Hobday
    • 7
  • Jennifer A. Ligibel
    • 8
  • Ingrid A. Mayer
    • 9
  • Kathleen I. Pritchard
    • 10
  • Timothy J. Whelan
    • 11
  • Priya Rastogi
    • 12
    • 13
  • Lois E. Shepherd
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Epidemiology at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research InstituteMount Sinai Hospital, University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Signaling Biology, Ontario Cancer InstituteUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Centre Hospitalier Affilié Universitaire de QuébecUniversité Laval Quebec CityCanada
  4. 4.NCIC Clinical Trials GroupQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  5. 5.British Columbia Cancer AgencyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  6. 6.Department of MedicineColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of OncologyMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  8. 8.Dana Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  9. 9.Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of MedicineVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  10. 10.Sunnybrook Odette Cancer CentreUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  11. 11.Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Care OntarioJuravinski Cancer CenterHamiltonCanada
  12. 12.National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP)PittsburghUSA
  13. 13.University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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