Combined metformin-salicylate treatment provides improved anti-tumor activity and enhanced radiotherapy response in prostate cancer; drug synergy at clinically relevant doses Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Background

    There is need for well-tolerated therapies for prostate cancer (PrCa) secondary prevention and to improve response to radiotherapy (RT). The anti-diabetic agent metformin (MET) and the aspirin metabolite salicylate (SAL) are shown to activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), suppress de novo lipogenesis (DNL), the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and reduce PrCa proliferation in-vitro. The purpose of this study was to examine whether combined MET+SAL treatment could provide enhanced PrCa tumor suppression and improve response to RT.


    Androgen-sensitive (22RV1) and resistant (PC3, DU-145) PrCa cells and PC3 xenografts were used to examine whether combined treatment with MET+SAL can provide improved anti-tumor activity compared to each agent alone in non-irradiated and irradiated PrCa cells and tumors. Mechanisms of action were investigated with analysis of signaling events, mitochondria respiration and DNL activity assays.


    We observed that PrCa cells are resistant to clinically relevant doses of MET. Combined MET + SAL treatment provides synergistic anti-proliferative activity at clinically relevant doses and enhances the anti-proliferative effects of RT. This was associated with suppression of oxygen consumption rate (OCR), activation of AMPK, suppression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC)-DNL and mTOR-p70s6k/4EBP1 and HIF1α pathways. MET + SAL reduced tumor growth in non-irradiated tumors and enhanced the effects of RT.


    MET+SAL treatment suppresses PrCa cell proliferation and tumor growth and enhances responses to RT at clinically relevant doses. Since MET and SAL are safe, widely-used and inexpensive agents, these data support the investigation of MET+SAL in PrCa clinical trials alone and in combination with RT.

publication date

  • November 2021