Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., August 31, 2015 – Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey population science researcher XiangLin Tan, MD, PhD, has been awarded an $852,705 Career Development Award (K07CA190541) from the National Cancer Institute to explore the use of aspirin and a diabetes drug for prostate cancer prevention and control, especially in obese men.

Excluding skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in American men and the second leading cause of male cancer-related death, according to the American Cancer Society. Research has shown an association between men with a body mass index of 30 or greater and an increased risk of being diagnosed with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer and dying from the disease. Currently no established recommendations exist for the prevention of obesity-related prostate cancer progression using pharmacologic agents. Dr. Tan’s work aims to evaluate the use of aspirin and the diabetes drug metformin to help reduce incidence and mortality in this patient population.

Metformin has recently gained attention as an anti-cancer drug and/or chemoprevention agent because of its effects on blocking the mTOR and insulin signaling pathways, reducing inflammation and selectively killing cancer stem cells. However its effects on blocking the development of prostate cancer have not been established. Aspirin also has been evaluated for the treatment and prevention of cancer, including prostate cancer, however, whether it may contribute to improving the effectiveness of metformin is unknown.

“The insulin-lowering effects of metformin and anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin have been suggested as the important mechanisms mediating their anti-tumor efficacy. We aim to show that metformin alone or in combination with aspirin will delay obesity-related prostate cancer progression by blocking the insulin/mTOR signaling and inflammation pathways,” notes Dr. Tan, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an assistant professor of epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health.

Tan aims to demonstrate this work through both laboratory study and a randomized clinical trial. The project period runs through July 2020. About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New JerseyRutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-3637 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center and Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.