Cancer letters

The metabolic perturbators metformin, phenformin and AICAR interfere with the growth and survival of murine PTEN-deficient T cell lymphomas and human T-ALL/T-LL cancer cells.

PMID 23612073


We show here that the antidiabetic agents metformin and phenformin and the AMPK activator AICAR exert strong anti-tumoural effects on tPTEN-/- lymphoma cells and on human T-ALL cell lines and primary samples. The compounds act by inhibiting tumour metabolism and proliferation and by inducing apoptosis in parallel with an activation of AMPK and an inhibition of constitutive mTOR. In tPTEN-/- cells, the drugs potentiated the anti-leukaemic effects of dexamethasone, and metformin and phenformin synergised with 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) to impair tumour cell survival. In vivo, metformin and AICAR strongly decreased the growth of luciferase-expressing tPTEN-/- cells xenografted in Nude mice, demonstrating that metabolism targeting could be a potent adjuvant strategy for lymphoma/leukaemia treatment.