Metformin and not diabetes influences the survival of resected early stage NSCLC patients

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Background: Published data suggest that diabetes influences survival of patients with lung cancer. The anti-cancer effect of metformin confounds this association. We sought to study the association of diabetes and metformin with survival in patients undergoing resection of stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods: Pathologic stage I NSCLC patients undergoing anatomic resection from 2002 to 2011 were studied. A diagnosis of diabetes and diabetic medication use were identified through records. Univariate and multivariate analyses examined the association of diabetes and metformin usage with overall survival (OS). Results: 409 eligible patients were included in the analysis-excluding patients with neoadjuvant therapy, more than one lung cancer, or resection less than lobectomy. 71 (17.4%) patients were diabetics and 41 (10.0%) used metformin. With a median follow up of 44 months, univariate analysis demonstrates that diabetes had no effect on OS (P=0.75); however, metformin use was associated with improved OS (median survival not reached vs. 60 months; P=0.02). Metformin use remained an important predictor of good survival in multivariate analysis (HR=3.08; P<0.01) after adjusting for age, gender, pathologic stage, histology and smoking status. Conclusion: Metformin use rather than diabetes is associated with improved long-term survival in Stage I NSCLC patients.




Dhillon, S. S., Groman, A., Meagher, A., Demmy, T., Warren, G. W., & Yendamuri, S. (2014). Metformin and not diabetes influences the survival of resected early stage NSCLC patients. Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, 6(7), 217–222.

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