Metformin in chemically-induced mammary carcinogenesis in rats

Neoplasma. 2009;56(3):269-74. doi: 10.4149/neo_2009_03_269.


In this paper the chemopreventive effect of peroral antidiabetic metformin in mammary carcinogenesis in female Sprague-Dawley rats was evaluated. Mammary carcinogenesis was induced by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (NMU) administered in two intraperitoneal doses each per 50 mg/kg b.w. between 43.-55. postnatal days. Metformin was administered in drinking water (at a concentration of 50 microg/ml and 500 microg/ml) 13 days before the first NMU dose until the termination of the experiment. During the experiment the animals were weekly weighed and palpated for the presence of mammary tumors, the incidence, latency, tumor frequency, and tumor volume were recorded. The experiment was terminated 18 weeks after the first NMU dose, basic tumor growth parameters and metabolic and hormonal variables were evaluated. Metformin did not significantly alter the tumor growth although a delay in tumor onset was recorded after higher metformin dose. Metformin altered metabolic and hormonal variables. Insulinemia decreased after both metformin doses in comparison with intact rats without changes in glycemia, triacylglycerols concentration was decreased in liver and increased in serum when compared to intacts. Higher metformin dose attenuated lipoperoxidation in liver.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Triglycerides
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • Metformin
  • Hydrocortisone