The Effect of Metformin on The Clinicopathological Features of Breast Cancer with Type 2 Diabetes

Weili Min, Baofeng Wang, Aining Guo, Guochao Mao, Yang Zhao, Shuqun Zhang, Rui He, Yihe Min, Yi Huang


Background: The present study aimed to review the use of hypoglycemic drugs and clinicopathological data in breast cancer patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and to investigate the effect of metformin on the clinicopathological features of breast cancer in patient with T2DM.

Methods: Eighty-nine patients with breast cancer hospitalized in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University from January 2012 to December 2014 were included. Thirty-three patients were on metformin (metformin group) and 56 patients were on control group. Streptavidin-peroxidase (SP) method was used to quantify protein expression of molecular markers (estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2)), molecular markers of proliferation (Ki-67 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) molecular markers (matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), E-cadherin and downstream N-cadherin). Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to detect HER-2 (+ and ++).

Results: The rate of lymph node metastasis and the level of Ki-67/MMP-2 in the metformin group were significantly lower than those in the control group (P < 0.05). The ratio of luminal pattern in metformin group was higher than that in the control group (P < 0.05). However, there were no differences in the parameters of age, duration of diabetes, body mass index, tumor size, histological grade of cancer and clinical pathological features between the two groups. No significant difference was observed in the expressions of ER, PR, HER-2, EGFR, E-cadherin, N-cadherin and the recurrence rate between two groups.

Conclusions: Metformin is associated with luminal breast cancer and can inhibit breast cancer invasion and metastasis in some cases. It may be associated with EMT and is beneficial to the prognosis of breast cancer.

World J Oncol. 2020;11(1):23-32


Breast cancer; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Metformin; Molecular typing; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition

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