Metformin amplifies chemotherapy-induced AMPK activation and antitumoral growth.
ABSTRACT Metformin is a widely used antidiabetic drug whose anticancer effects, mediated by the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and reduction of mTOR signaling, have become noteworthy. Chemotherapy produces genotoxic stress and induces p53 activity, which can cross-talk with AMPK/mTOR pathway. Herein, we investigate whether the combination of metformin and paclitaxel has an effect in cancer cell lines.
Human tumors were xenografted into severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice and the cancer cell lines were treated with only paclitaxel or only metformin, or a combination of both drugs. Western blotting, flow cytometry, and immunohistochemistry were then used to characterize the effects of the different treatments.
The results presented herein show that the addition of metformin to paclitaxel leads to quantitative potentialization of molecular signaling through AMPK and a subsequent potent inhibition of the mTOR signaling pathway. Treatment with metformin and paclitaxel resulted in an increase in the number of cells arrested in the G(2)-M phase of the cell cycle, and decreased the tumor growth and increased apoptosis in tumor-bearing mice, when compared with individual drug treatments.
We have provided evidence for a convergence of metformin and paclitaxel induced signaling at the level of AMPK. This mechanism shows how different drugs may cooperate to augment antigrowth signals, and suggests that target activation of AMPK by metformin may be a compelling ally in cancer treatment.
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ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been found to be effective against lung cancer, but clinical resistance to these agents has developed as their usage has increased. Metformin is a widely used antidiabetic drug and also displays significant growth inhibitory and pro apoptotic effects in several cancer models, alone or in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs. Experimental design: The effects of gefitinib, a selective EGFR-TKI, and metformin on a panel of NSCLC cell lines were assessed by using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium (MTT), bromide assay, flow cytometry, anchorage independent growth, co-immunoprecipitation, and Western blot analysis. RESULTS: The combination of metformin with gefitinib induced a strong antiproliferative and proapoptotic effect in NSCLC cell lines which harbored wild type LKB1 gene. Treatment with metformin as single agent, however, induced an activation and phosphorylation of MAPK through an increased C-RAF:B-RAF heterodimerization. The inhibition of EGFR phosphorylation and of downstream signaling by adding gefitinib to metformin treatment abrogated this phenomenon and induced a strong apoptotic effect in vitro and in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: Metformin and gefitinib are synergistic in LKB1 wild type NSCLC cells. However, further studies are required to investigate better the effect of metformin action on the RAS/RAF/MAPK pathway and the best context in which to use metformin in combination with molecular targeted agents.Clinical Cancer Research 05/2013; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Metformin is one of the most widely used anti-diabetic agents in the world, and a growing body of evidence suggests that it may also be effective as an anti-cancer drug. Observational studies have shown that metformin reduces cancer incidence and cancer-related mortality in multiple types of cancer. These results have drawn attention to the mechanisms underlying metformin's anti-cancer effects, which may include triggering of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, resulting in vulnerability to an energy crisis (leading to cell death under conditions of nutrient deprivation) and a reduction in circulating insulin/IGF-1 levels. Clinical trials are currently underway to determine the benefits, appropriate dosage, and tolerability of metformin in the context of cancer therapy. This review highlights fundamental aspects of the molecular mechanisms underlying metformin's anti-cancer effects, describes the epidemiological evidence and ongoing clinical challenges, and proposes directions for future translational research.Molecules and Cells 06/2013; · 2.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cancer chemotherapy, including molecular targeted therapy, has major limitations because it does not kill all the cancer cells; the residual cells survive until they acquire chemoresistance. In the present study, the combined effects of metformin and gefitinib were examined in vivo in a mouse xenograft model, inoculated with a human lung adenocarcinoma cell line that possesses an activating epidermal growth factor receptor mutation. The mechanism of the interaction was further elucidated in vitro. Metformin did not suppress the growth of already established tumors, nor did metformin augment tumor shrinkage by gefitinib. However, metformin significantly suppressed the regrowth of the tumor after effective treatment with gefitinib, suggesting the specific effect of metformin on the residual cells. Cytotoxicity of metformin was characterized by the absence of apoptosis induction and unremarkable cell cycle shift in vitro. The residual cell population after treatment with gefitinib was characterized by enriched cells with high expression of CD133 and CD24. Metformin was still effective on this specific cell population. Targeting residual cells after chemotherapy may represent an effective novel strategy for the treatment of cancer. Elucidating the mechanism of metformin cytotoxicity provides insights into future development of anticancer therapeutics.International Journal of Oncology 10/2013; · 2.66 Impact Factor