Metformin for Chemoprevention of Lung Cancer in High Risk Obese Individuals

  • End date
    Apr 1, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Updated on 12 October 2022
lung cancer
neutrophil count
lung carcinoma
Accepts healthy volunteers


This phase II trial determines the effect of metformin extended release on the risk for developing lung cancer in overweight/obese patients that are at high-risk for developing lung cancer. Metformin is widely used to treat type II diabetes and has a long history of safety and minimal side effects. At similar dosage, the drug may have potential anti-cancer activity. Metformin use has been associated with improved survival in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma, a specific type of lung cancer, and it has also been shown to enhance immune mobilization against tumors. This trial aims to see whether metformin extended release as a preventative treatment may lower the chance of developing lung cancer, and whether it may help patients' immune system learn ("reprogram") to lower a certain type of immune cell (called regulatory T cells) that are linked to tumor development.



I. To evaluate the effect of metformin treatment on the expression of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) on airway regulatory T cells (Tregs) in overweight and obese individuals at high risk for lung cancer.


I. Estimated PD-1 expression of pulmonary Tregs change in Cohort B (arm II) during the wait period (26 weeks with no treatment).

II. To examine the impact of metformin on circulating immune cell subsets of blood.


I. To examine the impact of metformin on cancer-related transcriptome features of airway lesions.

II. To examine the impact of metformin on immune profile of pulmonary parenchyma represented by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).

III To examine the impact of metformin on histologic progression of abnormal airway lesions.

IV. To examine the impact of metformin on serum adipokines and inflammatory cytokines.

OUTLINE: Participants are randomized to 1 of 2 arms.

COHORT A: Participants receive metformin extended release (ER) orally (PO) once daily (QD) for 26 weeks in the absence of unacceptable toxicity.

COHORT B: Participants receive no intervention for 26 weeks, then cross-over to Arm I.

After completion of study treatment, participants are followed up at weeks 30-32 (Cohort A) and weeks 56-58 (Cohort B).

Condition Lung Carcinoma
Treatment Extended Release Metformin Hydrochloride
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04931017
SponsorNational Cancer Institute (NCI)
Last Modified on12 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Former smokers (male and female) with a >= 20 pack year smoking history
Quit smoking >= 12 months prior to enrollment
Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCOm2012) Lung Cancer Risk Prediction Score > 1.34
Body mass index (BMI) > 25 and
Waist circumference
Female > 88 cm (35")
Male > 102 cm (40")
Age greater than 30 years. Participants younger than 30 years are unlikely to accrue
enough smoking exposure followed by enough time after quitting (>12 months) to
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status =< 1
Leukocytes >= 3,000/microliter
Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >= 1,500/microliter
Platelets >= 100,000/microliter
Total bilirubin < 1.5 x institutional upper limit of normal (IULN)
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT])/alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase [SGPT]) =< 1.5 x IULN
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) > 45 ml/min/1.73 m^2 (eGFR will be calculated using the equation Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration [CKD-EPI] creatinine)
The effects of metformin ER on the developing human fetus at the recommended therapeutic dose are unknown. For this reason, women of child-bearing potential and men must agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) prior to study entry and for the duration of study participation. Should a woman become pregnant or suspect she is pregnant while participating in this study, she should inform her study physician immediately
Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document

Exclusion Criteria

Current or previous diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (type I or type II diabetes)
Use of metformin within the past 2 years
Glycosylated hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) > 8%
History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic composition to metformin ER
Participants currently using immunosuppressive medication, including systemic steroids (not inhalational) and episodic use of inhaled steroids are excluded from this trial due to the potential impact of these treatments on the primary trial endpoint
Participants receiving any other investigational agents
History of chronic alcohol use or abuse defined by any one of the following
Average consumption of 3 or more alcohol containing beverages daily in the past 12 months
Consumption of 7 or more alcoholic beverages within a 24 hour period in the past 12 months
Acute or chronic liver disease, evidence of hepatitis (infectious or autoimmune)
cirrhosis or portal hypertension
History of or current condition predisposing to increased risk for lactic acidosis such as: severe congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] class III or IV), metabolic acidosis, severe liver disease, or renal failure
Uncontrolled intercurrent illness that would raise concerns of safety or limit compliance with study requirements
Pregnant women are excluded from this study. Metformin ER is a class B agent that was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses representing 3 and 6 times the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg; however, animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response. Because there is an unknown but potential risk for adverse events (AEs) in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the mother with metformin ER, breastfeeding should be discontinued if the mother is treated with metformin ER
Biopsy with invasive carcinoma of the lung or carcinoma in sit
Participants with prior stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis are allowed to participate, as long as there has been 12 months since the completion of cancer treatment prior to enrollment with no evidence of recurrence or second primary cancer
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