IJMS, Vol. 19, Pages 1478: Metformin Induces Apoptosis and Alters Cellular Responses to Oxidative Stress in Ht29 Colon Cancer Cells: Preliminary Findings
International Journal of Molecular Sciences doi: 10.3390/ijms19051478
Accumulating evidence suggests that metformin, used as an antidiabetic drug, possesses anti-cancer properties. Metformin reduced the incidence and growth of experimental tumors in vivo. In a randomized clinical trial among nondiabetic patients, metformin treatment significantly decreased the number of aberrant crypt foci compared to the untreated group with a follow-up of 1 month. In our study, HT29 cells were treated with graded concentrations of metformin, 10 mM/25 mM/50 mM for 24/48 h. We performed immunofluorescence experiments by means of confocal microscopy and western blot analysis to evaluate a panel of factors involved in apoptotic/autophagic processes and oxidative stress response. Moreover, HT29 cells treated with metformin were analyzed by a flow cytometry assay to detect the cell apoptotic rate. The results demonstrate that metformin exerts growth inhibitory effects on cultured HT29 cells by increasing both apoptosis and autophagy; moreover, it affects the survival of cultured cells inhibiting the transcriptional activation of Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF-2) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-&kappa;B). The effects of metformin on HT29 cells were dose- and time-dependent. These results are very intriguing since metformin is emerging as a multi-faceted drug: It has a good safety profile and is associated with low cost and might be a promising candidate for the prevention or the treatment of colorectal cancer.