Although many chemotherapeutic strategies against cancer have been developed, pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and intractable types of malignancies. Therefore, new strategies and anti-cancer agents are necessary to treat this disease. Metformin is a widely used drug for type-2 diabetes, and is also known as a promising candidate anti-cancer agent from recent studies in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanisms of metformin's anti-cancer effects have not been elucidated. We demonstrated that metformin suppressed the expression of miR-221, one of the most well-known oncogenic microRNAs, in human pancreatic cancer PANC-1 cells. Moreover, we showed that the down-regulation of miR-221 by metformin caused G1-phase arrest via the up-regulation of p27, one of the direct targets of miR-221. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is also a promising agent for cancer treatment. While recent studies showed that treatment with only TRAIL was not effective against pancreatic cancer cells, the present data showed that metformin sensitized p53-mutated pancreatic cancer cells to TRAIL. Metformin induced the expressions of death receptor 5 (DR5), a receptor for TRAIL, and Bim with a pro-apoptotic function in the downstream of TRAIL-DR5 pathway. We suggest that the up-regulation of these proteins may contribute to sensitization of TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The combination therapy of metformin and TRAIL could therefore be effective in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.