1. Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha - Qatar;
2. Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut - Lebanon and
3. Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University.
Both diabetes and cancer are prevalent diseases whose incidence rates are increasing worldwide, especially in countries that are undergoing rapid industrialization changes. Apparently, lifestyle risk factors including diet, physical inactivity and obesity play pivotal, yet preventable, roles in the etiology of both diseases. Epidemiological studies provide strong evidence that subjects with diabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing many forms of cancer and especially solid tumors. In addition to pancreatic and breast cancer, the incidence of colorectal cancer and prostate cancer is increased in type 2 diabetes. While diabetes (type 2) and cancer share many risk factors, the biological links between the two diseases are poorly characterized. In this review, we highlight the mechanistic pathways that link diabetes to colorectal and prostate cancer and the use of Metformin, a diabetes drug, to prevent and/or treat colorectal and prostate cancer. We review the role of AMPK activation in autophagy, oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, and cell cycle progression.
Keywords: Diabetes, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Metformin, AMPK, mTOR