Research Summary: Examining LKB1 status as a biomarker for response of lung cancer to metform

Grant Recipient: Dr. Edward Gabrielson
Title of Project: Examining LKB1 status as a biomarker for response of lung cancer to metformin
Sponsoring Institution: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

There is recent evidence that metformin, a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, has anticancer effects and can significantly improve responses of breast cancers to chemotherapy without added toxicity. We propose to review clinical records of lung cancer patients treated over the past 25 years at Johns Hopkins to determine whether metformin treatment is associated with improved response to chemotherapy for lung cancer. Because our preliminary laboratory work suggests that lung cancer cells with mutations of the LKB1 gene are particularly sensitive to metformin, we will secondarily determine whether mutations of the LKB1 gene (which is mutated in up to 40% of lung adenocarcinomas) are associated with a higher frequency of response to chemotherapy among these patients treated with metformin. Finally, we will conduct studies in the laboratory to further examine the possible link between LKB1 mutations and response to chemotherapy in combination with metformin. Establishing such a link could lead to improved chemotherapy (using metformin in combination with conventional chemotherapy drugs) and to development of a biomarker that can identify patients with cancers that might be particularly responsive to metformin in combination with conventional chemotherapy.