Exercise and Metformin in Colorectal and Breast Cancer Survivors

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Basic Trial Information

PhaseTypeStatusAgeSponsorProtocol IDs
Phase IIBiomarker/Laboratory analysis, Educational/Counseling/Training, TreatmentActive18 and overOther11-009

Trial Description


Metformin is a medication that is commonly used in the treatment of diabetes. Recently small studies in cancer patients without diabetes suggest that metformin may benefit in lowering insulin levels. In those studies of patients with cancer but not diabetes, glucose (or sugar) levels in the blood are generally no lowered. Insulin and insulin-like growth factors affect the growth of cancer cells.

This randomized study will compare different interventions; exercise, exercise and metformin, metformin alone, or a control arm. The investigators are not directly testing how either exercise or metformin affects your disease. The investigators are testing how they affect insulin levels in your body as well as other blood markers. The investigators believe that these blood tests may either be related to cancer recurrences or be an early sign of cancer recurrences and they are testing how both exercise and metformin may change those markers.

Further Study Information

Subjects will be randomized into one of four groups: exercise training, exercise training and metformin, metformin alone, or control arm. All subjects will have lifestyle measurements, interviews regarding activity level, diet questionnaires, and blood tests.

Subjects randomized to exercise training will participate in two supervised exercise sessions per week with an exercise physiologist for 3 months. They will also be asked to exercise on their own for up to an additional 120 minutes each week.

Subjects randomized to exercise training and metformin will participate in two supervised exercise sessions per week and will take metformin. Metformin will be taken once daily for the first two weeks and then twice daily for 3 months.

Subjects randomized to metformin will take metformin once daily for the first two weeks and then twice daily.

Subjects on the control arm will receive a packet of educational information on nutrition and physical activity developed by the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society. In addition to education information, they will be offered two supervised sessions with an exercise physiologist as well as a pedometer 3 months after enrollment in the study.

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Histologically confirmed stage I-III colorectal or breast cancer
  • Undergone curative-intent complete surgical resection and completed all adjuvant therapy (if indicated) at least 2 months prior to enrollment
  • Note: Breast cancer subjects on hormonal therapy or trastuzumab only therapy and colorectal cancer subjects on adjunctive therapies not considered cytotoxic chemotherapy (including those participating in CALGB 80702 receiving only celocoxib/placebo) are eligible.
  • Participants will be allowed to receive concomitant adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer; however, all endocrine agents must be initiated at least 1 month prior to enrollment in the study and continued throughout the duration of study participation.
  • Less than 120 minutes of exercise per week
  • Approval by oncologist or surgeon
  • English speaking and able to read English
  • No planned surgery anticipated in the 3 month intervention period
  • At least one month from any major surgery to start of intervention including colostomy reversal

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Concurrent other malignancy or history of other malignancy treated within the past 3 years (other than non-melanoma skin cancer or in-situ cervical cancer)
  • Metastatic disease
  • Scheduled to receive any form of further adjuvant cancer therapy
  • Currently on medication for diabetes treatment
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Any condition associated with increased risk of metformin-associated lactic acidosis (prior renal failure or liver failure, history of acidosis of any type; habitual intake of 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day)
  • Known hypersensitivity or intolerance to metformin

Trial Contact Information

Trial Lead Organizations/Sponsors

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Principal Investigator
    Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH
    Ph: 617-632-6855
    Email: jeffrey_meyerhardt@dfci.harvard.edu

    Trial Sites


    New Haven

    Yale Cancer Center

    Melinda Irwin
    Ph: 203-785-6392


    Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH
    Principal Investigator

    Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.
    NLM Identifier NCT01340300
    ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on April 09, 2015

    Note: Information about this trial is from the ClinicalTrials.gov database. The versions designated for health professionals and patients contain the same text. Minor changes may be made to the ClinicalTrials.gov record to standardize the names of study sponsors, sites, and contacts. Cancer.gov only lists sites that are recruiting patients for active trials, whereas ClinicalTrials.gov lists all sites for all trials. Questions and comments regarding the presented information should be directed to ClinicalTrials.gov.