Review Papers

May, 2017

The pharmacogenetics of metformin

Diabetologia 2017. DOI 10.1007/s00125-017-4335-y

Florez JC

Despite its widespread use as the first-line agent for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, it has become clear that metformin does not work optimally for everyone. Elucidating who are the likely metformin responders and non-responders is hampered by our limited knowledge of its precise molecular mechanism of action. One approach to achieve the related goals of stratifying patients into response subgroups and identifying the molecular targets of metformin involves the deployment of agnostic genome-wide approaches in cohorts of appropriate size to attain sufficient statistical power. While candidate gene studies have shed some light on the role of genetic variation in influencing metformin response, genome-wide association studies are beginning to provide additional insight that is unconstrained by prior knowledge. To fully realise their potential, much larger samples need to be assembled via international collaboration, preferably involving the academic community, government and the pharmaceutical industry.