Researchers of China have revealed that a drug used to cure diabetes could also successfully combat against breast cancer.
According to the national cancer centre, over 70,000 people die from breast cancer in China every year.
Dong Chenfang, a professor at Zhejiang University School of Medicine, said that "triple-negative breast cancer is particularly aggressive among the four clinical subtypes of breast cancer.
It can quickly spread or metastasize to the brain and lungs. There are currently no effective therapies for this form of breast cancer, which is therefore often fatal, he said.
Dong and his colleagues found that the levels of a metabolic enzyme called AKR1B1 were significantly elevated in triple-negative breast cancer cells and also claim that this was related to increased rates of metastasis and shorter life span.
Research studies have also revealed that epalrestat, a drug that inhibits AKR1B1 and is approved in Japan to treat diabetic complications, was able to inhibit the growth and metastasis of the cancer cells.
Dong said the findings are still in the experimental stage.