Metformin use and survival after colorectal cancer: A population-based cohort study.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Preclinical evidence suggests that metformin could delay cancer progression. Previous epidemiological studies however have been limited by small sample sizes and certain time-related biases. This study aimed to investigate whether colorectal cancer patients with type 2 diabetes who were exposed to metformin had reduced cancer-specific mortality. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 1,197 colorectal cancer patients newly diagnosed from 1998 to 2009 (identified from English cancer registries) with type 2 diabetes (based upon Clinical Practice Research Datalink, CPRD, prescription and diagnosis records). In this cohort 382 colorectal cancer-specific deaths occurred up to 2012 from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) mortality data. Metformin use was identified from CPRD prescription records. Using time-dependent Cox regression models, unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% CIs were calculated for the association between post-diagnostic exposure to metformin and colorectal cancer-specific mortality. Overall, there was no evidence of an association between metformin use and cancer-specific death before or after adjustment for potential confounders (adjusted HR 1.06, 95% CI 0.80, 1.40). In addition, after adjustment for confounders, there was also no evidence of associations between other diabetic medications and cancer-specific mortality including sulfonylureas (HR 1.14, 95% CI 0.86, 1.51), insulin use (HR 1.35, 95% CI 0.95, 1.93) or other anti-diabetic medications including thiazolidinediones (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.46, 1.14). Similar associations were observed by duration of use and for all-cause mortality. This population-based study, the largest to date, does not support a protective association between metformin and survival in colorectal cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369–379
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Early online date31 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Metformin use and survival after colorectal cancer: A population-based cohort study.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this