New research suggests that metformin treatment could effectively eliminate pancreatic cancer stem cells that rely on oxygen-based metabolism for energy production.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death, because of its tendency to cause symptoms only at a late and advanced stage. There were 49,000 new cases of the disease in 2015 in the United States; only 7.2% survive beyond 5 years. In most cases, by the time signs and symptoms appear, complete surgical removal is not possible and the cancer has already spread to other organs. Thus, development of strategies for earlier detection and new treatments are necessary to improve the prognosis of pancreatic cancer patients.