The development of efficacious antitumor compounds with minimal toxicity is a hot research topic. Numerous cancer cell targeted agents are evaluated daily in laboratories for their antitumorigenicity at the pre-clinical level, but the process of their introduction into the market is costly and time-consuming. More importantly, even if these new antitumor agents manage to gain approval, clinicians have no former experience with them. Accruing evidence supports the idea that several medications already used to treat pathologies other than cancer display pleiotropic effects, exhibiting multi-level anti-cancer activity and chemosensitizing properties. This review aims to present the anticancer properties of marketed drugs (i.e.
, metformin and pioglitazone) used for the management of diabetes mellitus (DM) type II. Mode of action, pre-clinical in vitro
and in vivo
or clinical data as well as clinical applicability are discussed here. Given the precious multi-year clinical experience with these non-antineoplastic drugs their repurposing in oncology is a challenging alternative that would aid towards the development of therapeutic schemes with less toxicity than those of conventional chemotherapeutic agents. More importantly, harnessing the antitumor function of these agents would save precious time from bench to bedside to aid the fight in the arena of cancer.
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