Metformin alters therapeutic effects in the BALB/c tumor therapy model.

BMC cancer (2021-05-29)
Felix B Meyer, Sophie Goebel, Sonja B Spangel, Christiane Leovsky, Doerte Hoelzer, René Thierbach

Despite considerable medical proceedings, cancer is still a leading cause of death. Major problems for tumor therapy are chemoresistance as well as toxic side effects. In recent years, the additional treatment with the antidiabetic drug metformin during chemotherapy showed promising results in some cases. The aim of this study was to develop an in vitro tumor therapy model in order to further investigate the potential of a combined chemotherapy with metformin. Cytotoxic effects of a combined treatment on BALB/c fibroblasts were proven by the resazurin assay. Based on the BALB/c cell transformation assay, the BALB/c tumor therapy model was established successfully with four different and widely used chemotherapeutics from different categories. Namely, Doxorubicin as a type-II isomerase inhibitor, Docetaxel as a spindle toxin, Mitomycin C as an alkylating agent and 5-Fluorouracil as an antimetabolite. Moreover, glucose consumption in the medium supernatant was measured and protein expressions were determined by Western Blotting. Initial tests for the combined treatment with metformin indicated unexpected results as metformin could partly mitigate the cytotoxic effects of the chemotherapeutic agents. These results were further confirmed as metformin induced resistance to some of the drugs when applied simultaneously in the tumor therapy model. Mechanistically, an increased glucose consumption was observed in non-transformed cells as well as in the mixed population of malignant transformed cell foci and non-transformed monolayer cells, suggesting that metformin could also increase glucose consumption in transformed cells. In conclusion, this study suggests a cautious use of metformin during chemotherapy. Moreover, the BALB/c tumor therapy model offers a potent tool for further mechanistic studies of drug-drug interactions during cancer therapy.

Product Number
Product Description

o-Dianisidine dihydrochloride, Suitable for use in glucose determination
Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, synthetic, ≥98.0% (TLC)
D-(+)-Glucose solution, 1 mg/mL in 0.1% benzoic acid, standard for enzymatic assay kits GAGO20, GAHK20, STA20, analytical standard
Monoclonal Anti-α-Tubulin antibody produced in mouse, clone DM1A, ascites fluid