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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with increased risk of cancers of some localizations and a moderate increase in cancer death. Leading pathogenetic role in the relationship of DM and malignant disease belongs to chronic hyperinsulinemia, mediated by a number of molecular mechanisms described in detail in the review. Metformin improves insulin sensitivity and reduces hyperinsulinemia, and has anti-cancer effect. In addition to indirect effects on insulin resistance of antitumor effect, metformin can directly inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells through stimulation of AMP kinase. Antiproliferative effect of metformin on breast cancer and ovarian cancer was confirmed in a number of experimental and clinical studies. To clarify the mechanisms of action and effects of metformin in oncology practice, a number of studies is being conducted and/or planned, particularly in all subtypes of breast cancer. Confirmation of anti-tumor efficacy of metformin will help to expand the scope of its application in practical medicine and, in particular, in clinical oncology.
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