Research Topic

New lights through old windows: Metformin and derivatives as Anti-Cancer treatments

About this Research Topic

Drug repurposing is a drug discovery process that aims to find new therapeutic benefits of marketed drugs rather than searching for entirely new therapeutic agents. Traditional drug development is a slow and an expensive process with a high rate of failure. Traditional drug discovery process is estimated to take between 10–15 years with an approximate cost of more than $2 billion before a drug reaches the market. However, drug repurposing seems to overcome several of drug discovery constraints such as time, cost and attrition rate, which makes it an appealing alternative to the traditional process. It is a common and cost-effective alternative to conventional drug discovery that utilizes biological testing approaches.

A drug can be repurposed during any phase of its developmental or marketing stages. A typical example of drug repurposing during the developmental stage is sildenafil, which was developed for the treatment of hypertension, but was repurposed for the management of erectile dysfunction. Another example is the antidiabetic drug, metformin, which is commonly prescribed, off-label, for the management of some of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) related symptoms. Lately, this drug and its derivatives have gained tremendous attention for their potential use as anti-cancer drugs. However, the theory is relatively new and the literature lacks sufficient evidence-based, scientific research, or systematic review articles that either approve/disapprove the use of the fairly safe and well tolerated drug, metformin and derivatives as potential anti-cancer therapies. Thus, there is an urgent need to fill the gap in literature that covers the general theory of drug repurposing in cancer treatment.

This Research Topic is intended to focus on the advances and the development of repurposing metformin and its derivatives as monotherapy/adjuvant for the treatment of cancer. The Topic aims to include broader perspectives of drug repurposing in anti-cancer treatments that range from molecular research and new target identification of medicines to the legal aspects of intellectual property associated with drug repurposing. We welcome all type of submissions and particularly encourage experts in the field to submit Reviews and Perspectives on drug repurposing in anti-cancer management.


Keywords: Anti-cancer, drug repurposing, drug discovery, off-label use, drug target


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Drug repurposing is a drug discovery process that aims to find new therapeutic benefits of marketed drugs rather than searching for entirely new therapeutic agents. Traditional drug development is a slow and an expensive process with a high rate of failure. Traditional drug discovery process is estimated to take between 10–15 years with an approximate cost of more than $2 billion before a drug reaches the market. However, drug repurposing seems to overcome several of drug discovery constraints such as time, cost and attrition rate, which makes it an appealing alternative to the traditional process. It is a common and cost-effective alternative to conventional drug discovery that utilizes biological testing approaches.

A drug can be repurposed during any phase of its developmental or marketing stages. A typical example of drug repurposing during the developmental stage is sildenafil, which was developed for the treatment of hypertension, but was repurposed for the management of erectile dysfunction. Another example is the antidiabetic drug, metformin, which is commonly prescribed, off-label, for the management of some of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) related symptoms. Lately, this drug and its derivatives have gained tremendous attention for their potential use as anti-cancer drugs. However, the theory is relatively new and the literature lacks sufficient evidence-based, scientific research, or systematic review articles that either approve/disapprove the use of the fairly safe and well tolerated drug, metformin and derivatives as potential anti-cancer therapies. Thus, there is an urgent need to fill the gap in literature that covers the general theory of drug repurposing in cancer treatment.

This Research Topic is intended to focus on the advances and the development of repurposing metformin and its derivatives as monotherapy/adjuvant for the treatment of cancer. The Topic aims to include broader perspectives of drug repurposing in anti-cancer treatments that range from molecular research and new target identification of medicines to the legal aspects of intellectual property associated with drug repurposing. We welcome all type of submissions and particularly encourage experts in the field to submit Reviews and Perspectives on drug repurposing in anti-cancer management.


Keywords: Anti-cancer, drug repurposing, drug discovery, off-label use, drug target


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

17 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

17 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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