A new Mayo Clinic study shows diabetes patients with ovarian cancer who took the drug metformin for their diabetes had a better survival rate than patients who did not take the drug.
Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncology fellow Sanjeev Kumar says the study found 67 percent of patients who took the drug survived after five years, compared with 47 percent of those who did not take the drug.
"Our study actually provides impetus for patients and investigators to start large-scale, prospective clinical trials in which we can test the activity of metformin in a more rigorous way," he said.
Kumar says the findings may play an important role in the use of existing medications to treat different or new diseases.
Previous research has shown metformin's promise to combat other cancers, including breast and prostate cancer.
The findings were published online in the journal Cancer.