Study: common diabetes medication could help prevent ovarian cancer

Doctors

A new Canadian study suggests a common medication to treat people with Type 2 diabetes could help prevent the development of ovarian cancer.

The study, published today in Clinical Cancer Research, shows that scarring of the ovaries occurs with age and the drug metformin may be able to halt that process.

Lead author Curtis McCloskey says the one of the primary risk factors for the disease is the number of ovulations a woman has throughout her life.

He says the ovary is constantly in a state of growth and retraction, and when that happens repeatedly, you can get scarring or fibrosis.

The research team examined 27 ovaries that had been removed from women aged 21 and 82.

McCloskey says most of the ovaries from post-menopausal women were fibrotic.

But there was one outlier;  an ovary from a 69-year-old woman that appeared pre-menopausal.

After looking at her medical records, he discovered she had Type 2 diabetes and was taking metformin.

McCloskey says he hopes to see scientists go further by giving women metformin for a year to see if the fibrosis goes away.