New insights into antidiabetic drugs: Possible applications in cancer treatment

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Globally at 2014, it was estimated that there was 347 million people with diabetes in which 90 percent of them were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Although the association between diabetes mellitus and cancer risk was found about 100 years ago, the issue is not still clear. Many studies especially cohort and case–control studies have suggested a higher risk of cancer in patients with diabetes mainly in those with type 2 diabetes. Insulin concentration is high in these patients, and due to its mitogenic effects, it may be a possible hypotheses for higher risk of cancer in diabetic patients. Therefore, antidiabetic drugs, which are involved in insulin secretion and sensitivity, may have beneficial effects in cancer treatment. Several groups of drugs with different mechanisms of action, mostly prescribed orally, are used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus including, insulin sensitizers (thiazolidinediones), insulin secretagogues (sulfonylureas), and biguanides. In this review, the possible effects of antidiabetic drugs (biguanides, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas) and some of their mechanisms for overcoming cancer will be discussed.

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