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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 132702, 11 pages
Review Article

Metformin against Cancer Stem Cells through the Modulation of Energy Metabolism: Special Considerations on Ovarian Cancer

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korean Cancer Center Hospital, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul 139-706, Republic of Korea
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam 463-707, Republic of Korea
3Biomedical Science Project, Brain Korea 21 Program for Leading Universities & Students, Seoul National University, Seoul 110-799, Republic of Korea
4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, Republic of Korea
5Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-799, Republic of Korea
6Major in Biomodulation, World Class University, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-921, Republic of Korea

Received 28 February 2014; Accepted 29 May 2014; Published 24 June 2014

Academic Editor: Daisuke Aoki

Copyright © 2014 Tae Hun Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy among women worldwide and is presumed to result from the presence of ovarian cancer stem cells. To overcome the limitation of current anticancer agents, another anticancer strategy is necessary to effectively target cancer stem cells in ovarian cancer. In many types of malignancies, including ovarian cancer, metformin, one of the most popular antidiabetic drugs, has been demonstrated to exhibit chemopreventive and anticancer efficacy with respect to incidence and overall survival rates. Thus, the metabolic reprogramming of cancer and cancer stem cells driven by genetic alterations during carcinogenesis and cancer progression could be therapeutically targeted. In this review, the potential efficacy and anticancer mechanisms of metformin against ovarian cancer stem cells will be discussed.