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Official: GPs are good for you!

Metformin may substantially reduce the risk of cancer, researchers conclude.

A study of 12,000 people with type 2 diabetes, published online in the BMJ this week, found cancer rates were reduced by 23 per cent in users of the drug.

The researchers said a larger study would be starting soon, but that metformin could eventually be used for cancer treatment or prevention.

Study leader Professor Dario Alessi, professor of life sciences at the University of Dundee, said metformin was a safe, cheap drug that had been in use for 48 years already. 'In principle this could go into clinical use quite quickly.'

The case-control study, which examined data from Tayside between 1993 and 2001, found the benefits of metformin increased with dose and length of treatment. Cancer rates fell 20 per cent in patients who used the drug for less than two years and 44 per cent in those who used it for more than five years.

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