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Metformin-Anyone on this trial?

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Comments

  • LuvRVing
    LuvRVing Member Posts: 2,409
    edited November 2011

    I am also diabetic and have been taking metformin for many years.  I went to 1000 mg 2x a day about 18 months ago, and I have lost weight.  I just finished chemo seven weeks ago and lost a couple more pounds.  My BMI is 22.  When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I weighed 160 and I am now at barely 122.  I had GI issues at first but no longer have a problem.  I had no problems with it during chemo. 

  • kks_rd
    kks_rd Member Posts: 99
    edited November 2011

    This thread and the research is very interesting.  I got in touch with a researcher at the hospital where I am receiving treatment to inquire whether I might be eligible, and she called me back this morning to say I have screened in so far.  We're meeting with my rads onc next week to discuss specifics.  Of course I am hopeful I will be placed in the treatment arm but either way, I am happy to help contribute to furthering the body of research on BC.  We'll see what next week brings!

  • catbill
    catbill Member Posts: 102
    edited November 2011

    Not on the trial, but asked my MD for a script.  He gave it to me.  Here's hoping for good results and maybe even losing a few pounds.

  • Daysie
    Daysie Member Posts: 1
    edited November 2011

    I started taking Metformin 500mg about 2 weeks before my first FEC chemo on 18 Nov, I found this forum and had no knowledge that Metformin may be beneficial for my BC.  From what you are all saying it is a good medicine to be taking.  My diabetes was only picked up on my pre-op assessment!  I am also taking Amlodipide 10g for blood pressure, I feel like a walking junkie!!  I can only hope and pray that all these combinations will shrink my BC tumour over the next few weeks.

    Daysie  (in London, England)

  • misswim
    misswim Member Posts: 472
    edited November 2011

    I just received my "Metformin/Placebo" prescription today. Wondering which end I ended up with, but glad to be a part of research.

  • painterly
    painterly Member Posts: 266
    edited November 2011

    Hi,

    A am really confused...I see ladies who are taking this drug metformin but still got breast cancer, so how does the drug help as a preventative? I am confused and curious as I was going to ask my doc. if I could try it.

  • catbill
    catbill Member Posts: 102
    edited November 2011

    Hi painterly

    I couldn't get the link to function but here is the one I brought to my MD.

    http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/featured/trials/CAN-NCIC-MA32

  • AlaskaAngel
    AlaskaAngel Member Posts: 694
    edited November 2011

    Hi,

    I have participated in 2 clinical trials previously (one for early stage bc patients use of testosterone, and the other for periodic testing for ovarian cancer). But for most trials I am now too far out from diagnosis and treatment to be eligible! Anyway, I am taking metformin on my own initiative. I haven't seen an onc in over 5 years now. Some time back I told my NP about the then upcoming clinical trials that were starting for breast cancer/metformin use, and got a referral from her to the cancer center dietitian (since I have no diabetes and no other chronic disease other than breast cancer). He worked with me on the increased risk for recurrence based on postmenopausal weight gain from treatment, because the more menopausal I became, the less I could eat without gaining weight and the more I had to exercise to compensate for all that, and with the loss of muscle due to aging it was becoming impossible not to gain more weight. So... I had my NP refer me to an endocrinologist. This was very difficult because endocrinologists are busy with diabetes and thyroid patients, etc. and none of them would see me because I didn't have any of those conditions. I finally got in to see one and he did write the Rx for the metformin -- even though he had never heard of the bc/metformin studies at the time. The Rx is for the standard dose, 500 mg twice a day for a while and then if you can tolerate that, it is increased again. (Metformin commonly causes diarrhea.) I'm happy with taking just 250 mg with each meal so that is what I take. AND, it HAS helped me for the very first time since treatment with chemo to NOT gain weight and still eat normally. I too think it is good prevention against recurrence and will be interested to see how the numerous breast cancer/metformin trials turn out. The only other things I take are melatonin and freshly ground flax seed -- and daily olive oil and walnuts. To each their own. (See my signature.)

    AlaskaAngel

  • Patriotic
    Patriotic Member Posts: 30
    edited November 2011

    I was offered entrance into a clinical trial for Metformin, only after asking. My Onc. said I had a 50% chance of getting it and 50% chance of placebo. No, thanks! As a Stage III'er, these are not my idea of good odds so, I will ask my PCP. But, they claim Metformin has it's own risks. Still, they can't be any worse than dying of breast cancer! My opinion is that trying it can't hurt. If there are problems, you can always stop taking it.



    I also asked about the Nurse's Health Study results on aspirin and I was told there is no problem taking it and it might actually be beneficial with Tamoxifen's clotting risks.

  • Patriotic
    Patriotic Member Posts: 30
    edited November 2011

    I also have a friend that takes Metformin and was dx with BC. It's not a cure but it MAY help with reduction of insulin levels which MAY reduce the risk of recurrence. The early info indicated that of those diabetics dx with BC, it was discovered that those taking Metformin were less likely to be dx and less likely to recur. This effect was only seen with Metformin and no other diabetes drugs, including insulin.

  • Babs37
    Babs37 Member Posts: 320
    edited November 2011

    I've been taking metformin since April in the clinical trial. From the beginning I have had gastro-intestinal problems with it and it never stopped to this day. I take 850mg X 2 daily. I was sure the Metformin caused me some pain in the liver so last time I saw my onc, I asked for a liver scan to see if something was going on in there. Well the scan showed an area of "fatty liver". So now they are sending me for a liver US. Could the Metformin cause this? Could it be to hard on my liver?Or the dosage to high? I don't drink and never did and I am not overweight so I am trying to figure this out..................  

  • AlaskaAngel
    AlaskaAngel Member Posts: 694
    edited November 2011

     Babs37,

    Fatty liver is a common problem among older women in general. (I was diagnosed with it too after treatment.)

    I take just 250 mg of the metformin with each meal (2 meals a day) but am not in any study.  I have heard that a higher dose might be necessary to have the desired effect in order to avoid recurrence, but the trials have only recently been started for using it for bc.

    AlaskaAngel

  • outfield
    outfield Member Posts: 235
    edited November 2011

    Painterly,

    There's nothing known that 100% prevents breast cancer.  Anything that's been or is being researched as preventing new cancer or preventing recurrence at best improves the odds.  

    My hat is off to everyone participating in these studies.   

  • Babs37
    Babs37 Member Posts: 320
    edited November 2011

    AlaskaAngel- I'm only 38...........

  • LuvRVing
    LuvRVing Member Posts: 2,409
    edited November 2011

    The metformin clinical trial dosage is 850 mg twice a day.  The Canadian trials have been ongoing for about 18 months.  Metformin has been used for decades to treat Type 2 Diabetes and is really quite safe.  Yes, you may have some GI issues, but those subside for most people.  I was taking 500 mg prior to BC and I am now taking 1000 mg twice a day.  I may cut back to the trial dosage as I have not been able to gain weight (yeah, I know...what a problem...lol).  I am 5'2" and 122 pounds, but I need to gain 5 - 7 pounds between now and when I have DIEP surgery next summer.  And I need to balance that issue with controlling my glucose levels. 

    By the way, research shows that diabetics who take Metformin with chemo often have a complete pathological response.  I had internal mammary nodes that couldn't be removed when I had my BMX.  After chemo, those nodes are now normal. 

    The evidence is quite compelling.

  • Babs37
    Babs37 Member Posts: 320
    edited November 2011

    I understand that when you have diabetes, your body needs the Metformin and it's safe. What I am wondering is if you are not diabetic and you take Metformin, could your body react differently or could it cause problems in the long run because your body already does control the glucose and you give it, on top of that a med to do the same thing and don't need it really. Could it be too much for the liver to process?

  • catbill
    catbill Member Posts: 102
    edited November 2011

    There can be a point where your blood sugar dips too low and you get faint, or pass out, but I haven't read anything about people experiencing liver toxicity.  Has anyone heard of this?

  • weety
    weety Member Posts: 371
    edited November 2011

    From what I understand, metformin makes the body more sensitive to insulin so that less insulin is needed to lower blood sugar after a meal.  I don't think it alters the body dramatically, but I could be wrong.

  • starbeauty
    starbeauty Member Posts: 106
    edited November 2011

    I elected to use the link on page 1 of this thread to place myself on this med. I started with 500 mg once per day and increased to 500 mg twice per day. My concern is that it was mentioned the drug has a fishy odor when close to your nose... The meds I have do not... Any comments on this?

  • catbill
    catbill Member Posts: 102
    edited November 2011

    There is a very slight smell of fish with mine, but I only started taking it.  My husband has taken Metformin for diabetes for several years and he said sometimes the fish smell is strong, and sometimes it's not there.

  • outfield
    outfield Member Posts: 235
    edited November 2011

    I'm one of the folks not in the studies but on it anyway.  So it better be the real thing, it's just coming from Walgreen's with a prescription.  My more recent fills have a minty smell, I assume to hide the fishiness.  The first few were definitely fishy, but only close up.

  • TectonicShift
    TectonicShift Member Posts: 102
    edited May 2014

    Can you take metformin while on tamoxifen and / or AIs?

    Would one interfere with the other?

  • starella
    starella Member Posts: 101
    edited November 2011
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/238207.php great news...now to find an md that will prescribe it to me!
  • Fighter_34
    Fighter_34 Member Posts: 496
    edited November 2011

    Good article Starella...

    I am finding if I take one pill when I wake up and the other around 8pm. It helps with the GI problems. If I take them to close together then the day turns ugly. 

  • LeesaAnn
    LeesaAnn Member Posts: 40
    edited November 2011

    Starella, thanks for posting!

    I'm interested to know which  'man-made chemicals' were used in the study. No mention of it in the article or at the Michigan State website. Anyone know?

    Lisa

  • outfield
    outfield Member Posts: 235
    edited November 2011

    Just a comment on the linkds cp418 supplied:

    The huge warning at the top of the first link is for a combo pill of metformin with rosiglitazone.  Rosiglitazone is the cause of this concern, not metformin.   

  • AlaskaAngel
    AlaskaAngel Member Posts: 694
    edited December 2011

    Outfield: Thank you for carefully pointing that out for everyone.

    Starella: Here's the "why" or "how" metformin works, to add to your posted link:

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20111202/Researchers-identify-cancer-cell-mitochondria-as-Achilles-heel-of-tumor-growth.aspx 

    (In case the link eventually disappears with time, the researcher involved is Michael Lisanti and the report is to be found in the Dec. 2 issue of Cell Cycle.)

    As I've said elsewhere, it makes no sense NOT to have endocrinologists sitting as full advisory members on each of our tumor boards. Otherwise all we get is surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists and their focus about treatment. The breast is an endocrine gland.

    Alaskaangel

  • dutchgirl6
    dutchgirl6 Member Posts: 322
    edited December 2011

    I started on the Metformin trial at the beginning of November 2010, coincidentally at the same time that I started Tamoxifen.  So far I haven't had any side effects from the Metformin, which leads me to think that I am getting the placebo.  The SEs from the Tamox are another thing altogether (is it hot in here or is it just me?), but that is a topic for a different forum.  The information that my MO gave me about it was very compelling, and I felt comfortable with my participation in the trial.  My DH questioned why I would commit to a five year trial, but I figured that since I would be on the Tamox for the same amount of time, it wouldn't really impact my life that much.  And I figured, if this can keep the beast away, I'm all for it!

  • AlaskaAngel
    AlaskaAngel Member Posts: 694
    edited December 2011

    In reviewing the trials listed on clinicaltrials.gov for metformin and breast cancer, it is interesting to see that the places involved with metformin and breast cancer trials as early as 2009 were Canada, Great Britain, only very few in the USA, and Korea. I see also that Italy has many sites set up for a trial it is offering. (Think pasta has anything to do with it?!)

    MDAnderson and Susan Komen are listed for some metformin trials.

    A.A.