Metformin-induced reductions in tumor growth involves modulation of the gut microbiome Journal Articles uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Type 2 diabetes and obesity increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Metformin may reduce colorectal cancer but the mechanisms mediating this effect remain unclear. In mice and humans, a high-fat diet (HFD), obesity and metformin are known to alter the gut microbiome but whether this is important for influencing tumor growth is not known. METHODS: Mice with syngeneic MC38 colon adenocarcinomas were treated with metformin or feces obtained from control or metformin treated mice. RESULTS: We find that compared to chow-fed controls, tumor growth is increased when mice are fed a HFD and that this acceleration of tumor growth can be partially recapitulated through transfer of the fecal microbiome or in vitro treatment of cells with fecal filtrates from HFD-fed animals. Treatment of HFD-fed mice with orally ingested, but not intraperitoneally injected, metformin suppresses tumor growth and increases the expression of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing microbes Alistipes, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae. The transfer of the gut microbiome from mice treated orally with metformin to drug na├»ve, conventionalized HFD-fed mice increases circulating propionate and butyrate, reduces tumor proliferation, and suppresses the expression of sterol response element binding protein (SREBP) gene targets in the tumor. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that in obese mice fed a HFD, metformin reduces tumor burden through changes in the gut microbiome.

publication date

  • July 2022