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An exploratory study of metformin and rapamycin as maintenance therapy


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Credit: Correspondence to – Dung T. Le – dle@jhmi.edu

Volume 11, Number 21 of @Oncotarget reported that eligible patients with stable or responding mPDA after 6 months on chemotherapy were randomized 1:1 to metformin alone or with rapamycin, stratified by prior treatment with FOLFIRINOX. Metformin +/ rapamycin maintenance for mPDA was well-tolerated and several patients achieved stable disease associated with exceptionally long survival.

Dr. Dung T. Le from The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD, 21287 said, “Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is aggressive cancer with high mortality at all stages and limited treatment options in the advanced setting.”

Metformin is an antidiabetic drug in the biguanide class of agents which inhibits mTOR complex 1 primarily through AMP-kinase activation.

A synergistic effect of the combination of metformin with rapamycin was suggested by preclinical studies demonstrating enhanced inhibition of mTOR in a pancreatic cancer cell line and better growth inhibition of pancreatic cancer cells in a xenograft tumor model with the combination than either agent alone.

Based on this, they conducted an exploratory study of metformin with or without rapamycin in patients with mPDA in the maintenance setting.

The Le Research Team concluded in their Oncotarget Research Article, “the administration of metformin with or without rapamycin in patients with mPDA who achieve a response to chemotherapy is well-tolerated and was associated with better than expected overall survival in this study. Additional studies are needed to prospectively evaluate the role of these agents compared to a maintenance chemotherapy or observation only approach.”


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DOI – https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27539

Full text – https://www.oncotarget.com/article/27586/text/

Correspondence to – Dung T. Le – dle@jhmi.edu

Keywords – pancreatic cancer, mTOR inhibition, maintenance therapy, metformin

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