Clinical Research Papers:

Sitagliptin use and thyroid cancer risk in patients with type 2 diabetes

Chin-Hsiao Tseng _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:24871-24879. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8399

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Chin-Hsiao Tseng1,2,3

1 Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine of the National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan

Correspondence to:

Chin-Hsiao Tseng, email:

Keywords: thyroid cancer, diabetes mellitus, sitagliptin, Taiwan

Received: November 26, 2015 Accepted: March 14, 2016 Published: March 28, 2016


Whether sitagliptin may increase thyroid cancer risk has not been investigated in the Asian populations. This study evaluated the association in Taiwanese patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes from 1999 to 2008 by using the reimbursement database of the National Health Insurance. They should have been followed for at least 6 months after March 1, 2009, the date when sitagliptin was approved for reimbursement. Patients newly treated with sitagliptin (n=58238, “ever users of sitagliptin”) or other antidiabetic drugs (n =312853, “never users of sitagliptin”) were followed until December 31, 2011. The treatment effect (for ever versus never users, and for tertiles of cumulative duration of therapy) was estimated by Cox regression incorporated with the inverse probability of treatment weighting using propensity score. Results showed that the respective number of incident thyroid cancer in ever users and never users was 28 and 172, with respective incidence of 29.34 and 22.13 per 100,000 person-years. The overall hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of 1.516 (1.011-2.271) suggested a significantly higher risk associated with sitagliptin use. In tertile analyses, the hazard ratio for the first ( < 6.53 months), second (6.53-14.00 months) and third ( > 14 months) tertile of cumulative duration was 1.995 (1.015-3.919), 2.516 (1.451-4.364) and 0.595 (0.244-1.449), respectively. Analyses after excluding patients with benign thyroid disease and in a subsample matched on baseline characteristics supported the findings in the original sample. In conclusion, sitagliptin use is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer, especially during the first year of its treatment.

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