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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2018 Mar 1;314(3):F407-F411. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00443.2017. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Metformin: an antiproliferative agent and methylation regulator in treating prostatic disease?

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Department of Urology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


Existing drugs that have been used in clinical practice for other purposes can prove useful for reutilization, since much of the safety profile and pharmacokinetics have been completed. Therefore, the drugs can enter clinical practice for a variety of causes with less regulatory burden. Metformin may prove to be such a drug; it may have a role in other diseases, besides the management of diabetes. In this perspective, we provide our findings and understanding of metformin as an alternative way to treat urological abnormal proliferation. We propose the potential mechanisms into two hallmarks: direct antiproliferative function via insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathway and epigenetic modulating via adjusting DNA methylation. These specific hallmarks may ultimately contribute to a better understanding of metformin in treating prostatic diseases.

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