Background: Metformin is a biguanide, belonging to the oral hypoglycemic agents and is a widely used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Evidence indicate that Metformin inhibits cell proliferation in several human cancers and inhibits the Warburg phenomenon in tumor cells.

Objective: The present study aims to explore the effects of Metformin in hypoxic conditions. Specifically, we focused on pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), (hypoxia-inducible factor 1α) HIF-1α levels and the oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cell phenotype. Additionally, we also investigated a theoretical consequence of Metformin treatment.

Methods: PDH levels in patients with OSCC and oral dysplasia were evaluated. Metformin was administered in vitro to test the effect of Metformin under hypoxic conditions. The results were complemented by Bioinformatics analyses.

Results: Low PDH levels were observed in OSCC, and Metformin promotes an increase in PDH levels in hypoxic conditions. Metformin also reduced HIF-1α mRNA and protein levels. Metformin demonstrated antiproliferative effects, inhibited migration, increased the number of apoptotic cells and increased the transcription of caspase 3.

Conclusions: In conclusion, our current findings show that Metformin reduces HIF-1α gene expression and increases PDH expression. Metformin inhibits cell proliferation and migration in the OSCC cell line model. Additionally, Metformin enhances the number of apoptotic cells and caspase 3 levels. Interestingly enough, Metformin did not increase the mutant p53 levels under hypoxic conditions.

Note: This abstract was not presented at the meeting.

Citation Format: Talita Guimarães, Lucyana Farias, Carlos Fraga, Alfredo De Paula, Sergio Santos, Ricardo Gomez, Andre Guimaraes. Metformin increases PDH and suppresses HIF1A under hypoxic conditions and induces cell death in oral squamous cell carcinoma [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 5424. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-5424