We applied two clinical databases to survey metformin use and ovarian cancer survival rate. The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset, an L1000 microarray with Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) analysis, Western blot analysis and an animal model were used to study the activity of the AKT/mTOR pathway in response to the synergistic effects of neoadjuvant metformin combined with chemotherapy.
We found that ovarian cancer patients treated with metformin had significantly longer overall survival than patients treated without metformin. The protein profile induced by low- concentration metformin in ovarian cancer predominantly involved the AKT/mTOR pathway. In combination with chemotherapy, the neoadjuvant metformin protocol showed beneficial synergistic effects in vitro and in vivo.
This study shows that neoadjuvant metformin at clinically relevant dosages is efficacious in treating ovarian cancer, and the results can be used to guide clinical trials.