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: Metformin, an inexpensive, well-tolerated oral agent that is commonly used in the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes, has become the focus of intense research as a potential anticancer agent. This research reflects a convergence of epidemiologic, clinical, and preclinical evidence, suggesting that metformin may lower cancer risk in diabetics and improve outcomes of many common cancers. Notably, metformin mediates an approximately 30 % reduction in the lifetime risk of cancer in diabetic patients. There is growing recognition that metformin may act (1) directly on cancer cells, primarily by impacting mitochondrial respiration leading to the activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which controls energy homeostasis in cells, but also through other mechanisms or (2) indirectly on the host metabolism, largely through AMPK-mediated reduction in hepatic gluconeogenesis, leading to reduced circulating insulin levels and decreased insulin/IGF-1 receptor-mediated activation of the PI3K pathway. Support for this comes from the observation that metformin inhibits cancer cell growth in vitro and delays the onset of tobacco carcinogen-induced lung cancer in mice and that metformin and its analog phenformin delay spontaneous tumor development cancer-prone transgenic mice. The potential for both direct antitumor effects and indirect host-mediated effects has sparked enormous interest, but has led to added challenges in translating preclinical findings to the clinical setting. Nonetheless, the accumulation of evidence has been sufficient to justify initiation of clinical trials of metformin as an anticancer agent in the clinical setting, including a large-scale adjuvant study in breast cancer, with additional studies planned.Cancer treatment and research 01/2014; 159:355-376.
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ABSTRACT: Abnormal vascularization of solid tumours results in the development of microenvironments deprived of oxygen and nutrients that harbour slowly growing and metabolically stressed cells. Such cells display enhanced resistance to standard chemotherapeutic agents and repopulate tumours after therapy. Here we identify the small molecule VLX600 as a drug that is preferentially active against quiescent cells in colon cancer 3-D microtissues. The anticancer activity is associated with reduced mitochondrial respiration, leading to bioenergetic catastrophe and tumour cell death. VLX600 shows enhanced cytotoxic activity under conditions of nutrient starvation. Importantly, VLX600 displays tumour growth inhibition in vivo. Our findings suggest that tumour cells in metabolically compromised microenvironments have a limited ability to respond to decreased mitochondrial function, and suggest a strategy for targeting the quiescent populations of tumour cells for improved cancer treatment.Nature Communications 02/2014; 5:3295. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence suggests that metformin, a biguanide class of anti-diabetic drugs, possesses anti-cancer properties. However, most of the studies to evaluate therapeutic efficacy of metformin have been on primary cancer. No information is available whether metformin could be effectively used for recurrent cancer, specifically colorectal cancer (CRC) that affects up to 50% of patients treated by conventional chemotherapies. Although the reasons for recurrence are not fully understood, it is thought to be due to re-emergence of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem/stem-like cells (CSCs/CSLCs). Therefore, development of non-toxic treatment strategies targeting CSCs would be of significant therapeutic benefit. In the current investigation, we have examined the effectiveness of metformin, in combination with 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin (FuOx), the mainstay of colon cancer therapeutics, on survival of chemo-resistant colon cancer cells that are highly enriched in CSCs/CSLCs. Our data show that metformin acts synergistically with FuOx to (a) induce cell death in chemo resistant (CR) HT-29 and HCT-116 colon cancer cells, (b) inhibit colonospheres formation and (c) enhance colonospheres disintegration. In vitro cell culture studies have further demonstrated that the combinatorial treatment inhibits migration of CR colon cancer cells. These changes were associated with increased miRNA 145 and reduction in miRNA 21. Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway was also down-regulated indicating its pivotal role in regulating the growth of CR colon cancer cells. Data from SCID mice xenograft model of CR HCT-116 and CR HT-29 cells show that the combination of metformin and FuOX is highly effective in inhibiting the growth of colon tumors as evidenced by ∼50% inhibition in growth following 5 weeks of combination treatment, when compared with the vehicle treated controls. Our current data suggest that metformin together with conventional chemotherapy could be an effective treatment regimen for recurring colorectal cancer (CRC).PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e84369. · 3.73 Impact Factor