Effects of metformin on survival outcomes of pancreatic cancer: a meta-analysis

Yi-Wei Dong, Yan-Qiang Shi, Li-Wen He, Xi-Yu Cui _ and Pei-Zhu Su

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:55478-55488. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18233

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Yi-Wei Dong1,*, Yan-Qiang Shi1,*, Li-Wen He1, Xi-Yu Cui2 and Pei-Zhu Su2

1The Second Clinical Medical School of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510282, Guangdong, China

2Department of Gastroenterology, The First People’s Hospital of Foshan (Affiliated Foshan Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University), Foshan 528000, Guangdong, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work and should be considered as co-first authors

Correspondence to:

Xi-Yu Cui, email: [email protected]

Pei-Zhu Su, email: [email protected]

Keywords: pancreatic neoplasms, metformin, prognosis, meta-analysis

Received: January 23, 2017     Accepted: April 29, 2017     Published: May 26, 2017


Background and aim: Recent epidemiological studies indicated that metformin might improve the survival of various cancers. However, its benefit on pancreatic cancer was controversial.

Methods: We performed this meta-analysis to investigate the benefit of metformin on pancreatic cancer. A comprehensive literature search was performed through PubMed, Cochrane Library and Embase. Relative risk (RR) and hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were pooled.

Results: The meta-analysis of 2 randomized controlled trials including181 pancreatic patients, revealed that metformin use was not associated with an improved overall survival at 6 months (RR=0.90, 95% CI=0.67-1.21), overall survival (HR=1.19, 95% CI=0.86-1.63) and progression-free survival (HR=1.39, 95% CI=0.97-1.99). But the meta-analysis of 8 cohorts, involving 2805 pancreatic patients with diabetes, demonstrated a favorable result with improved overall survival (HR=0.78, 95% CI=0.66-0.92).

Conclusions: Observations in the cohort studies supported a favorable role of metformin while the data from randomized controlled trials did not support that. Therefore, more high-quality RCTs are warranted.

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