Diabetes drug may help treat breast cancer: Chinese researchers


BEIJING (China) March 19 (APP): Researchers in China have discovered
that a drug used to treat diabetes could be effective against a form of deadly breast cancer.
More than 70,000 people die from breast cancer in China every year,
according to the national cancer center.
Triple-negative breast cancer is particularly aggressive among the
four clinical subtypes of breast cancer, said Dong Chenfang, a professor
at Zhejiang University School of Medicine.
It has a tendency to quickly spread or metastasize to the brain and
lungs. There are currently no effective targeted therapies for this form
of breast cancer, which is therefore often fatal, according to Dong and
his colleagues found that the levels of a metabolic enzyme called AKR1B1 were significantly elevated in triple-negative breast cancer cells and
that this was associated with increased rates of metastasis and shorter survival times.
The researchers also found epalrestat, a drug that inhibits AKR1B1
and is approved in Japan to treat diabetic complications, was able to
block the growth and metastasis of the cancer cells.
Dong said the finding is still in the experimental stage. Whether
epalrestat can be applied to the clinical treatment still needs further tests.