Fanconi anemia (FA), a genetic DNA repair disorder characterized by marrow failure and cancer susceptibility. In FA mice, metformin improves blood counts and delays tumor development. We conducted a single institution study of metformin in nondiabetic patients with FA to determine feasibility and tolerability of metformin treatment and to assess for improvement in blood counts. Fourteen of 15 patients with at least 1 cytopenia (hemoglobin < 10 g/dL; platelet count < 100 000 cells/µL; or an absolute neutrophil count < 1000 cells/µL) were eligible to receive metformin for 6 months. Median patient age was 9.4 years (range 6.0-26.5 ). Thirteen of 14 subjects (93%) tolerated maximal dosing for age; 1 subject had dose reduction for grade 2 gastrointestinal symptoms. No subjects developed hypoglycemia or metabolic acidosis. No subjects had dose interruptions caused by toxicity, and no grade 3 or higher adverse events attributed to metformin were observed. Hematologic response based on modified Myelodysplastic Syndrome International Working Group criteria was observed in 4 of 13 evaluable patients (30.8%; 90% confidence interval, 11.3-57.3). Median time to response was 84.5 days (range 71-128 days). Responses were noted in neutrophils (n = 3), platelets (n = 1), and red blood cells (n = 1). No subjects met criteria for disease progression or relapse during treatment. Correlative studies explored potential mechanisms of metformin activity in FA. Plasma proteomics showed reduction in inflammatory pathways with metformin. Metformin is safe and tolerable in nondiabetic patients with FA and may provide therapeutic benefit. This trial was registered at as #NCT03398824.

DOI 10.1182/bloodadvances.2021006490