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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 972193, 9 pages
Review Article

Breast Cancer Metabolism and Mitochondrial Activity: The Possibility of Chemoprevention with Metformin

Division of Cancer Prevention and Genetics, European Institute of Oncology, 20141 Milan, Italy

Received 27 May 2015; Revised 11 September 2015; Accepted 7 October 2015

Academic Editor: Yunfeng Zhao

Copyright © 2015 Massimiliano Cazzaniga and Bernardo Bonanni. 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.


Metabolic reprogramming refers to the ability of cancer cells to alter their metabolism in order to support the increased energy request due to continuous growth, rapid proliferation, and other characteristics typical of neoplastic cells. It has long been believed that the increase of metabolic request was independent of the mitochondrial action but recently we know that mitochondrial activity together with metabolism plays a pivotal role in the regulation of the energy needed for tumor cell growth and proliferation. For these reasons the mitochondria pathways could be a new target for therapeutic and chemopreventive intervention. Metformin in particular is actually considered a promising agent against mitochondrial activity thanks to its ability to inhibit the mitochondrial complex I.