New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Dentistry’s Xin Li To Investigate if Diabetes Drug Prevents Prostate Cancer

September 17, 2013

By Elyse Bloom


Xin Li, an assistant professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at the College of Dentistry, has received a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to conduct a preclinical study of the potential of metformin, an oral anti-diabetic drug, to prevent the development and progression of prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American men.


Current treatment techniques for prostate cancer are mostly palliative with poor prognosis. However, epidemiological studies indicate that patients taking metformin have lower prostate cancer risk and better prognosis.


“Our central hypothesis is that metformin acts as a novel chemo-preventive agent to restrict the initiation and progression of prostate cancer,” says Li. “Our preliminary data demonstrate that metformin reduces the cancer-promoting MYC oncogene levels both in vitro and in vivo.”
The MYC oncogene produces a DNA-binding protein that promotes cancerous cell growth and also alters prostate tumor sensitivity to inhibitors that regulate cell growth.


Li and her team will use mice having a regulator gene found in many cancers to examine the inhibitory effect of metformin on prostate cancer progression and also to define the epigenetic enzyme alterations that occur in metformin-treated prostate cancer.


“We postulate that our investigation of a novel combined cancer prevention therapy using metformin and mTOR inhibitors will yield findings that can be translated into clinical research, thereby providing guidance for prostate cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of this disease,” says Li.

Type: Article

Dentistry’s Xin Li To Investigate if Diabetes Drug Prevents Prostate Cancer

Search News



NYU In the News

Paying It Backward: NYU Alum Funds Scholarships

The Wall Street Journal profiled Trustee Evan Chesler on why he decided to chair the Momentum fund-raising campaign.

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson

The New Yorker talked to Professor Kyle Cranmer and graduate student Sven Kreiss about NYU’s role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which resulted in a Nobel prize for the scientists who predicted its existence.

The World as They Knew It

The New York Times reviewed the exhibit at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on how ancient Greeks and Romans mapped the known and unknown areas of their world.

Elite Institutions: Far More Diverse Than They Were 20 Years Ago

NYU made stronger gains over the last 20 years in increasing diversity than any other major research university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Program Seeks to Nurture ‘Data Science Culture’
at Universities

The New York Times reported on the multi-million collaboration among NYU and two other universities to harness the potential of Big Data, including an interview with Professor Yann LeCun, director of NYU’s Center for Data Science.

NYU Footer