Metformin Associated With Lower Head, Neck Cancer Risk

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Data link metformin to a lower risk for developing head and neck cancer.
Data link metformin to a lower risk for developing head and neck cancer.

(HealthDay News) — Metformin is associated with a lower risk for developing head and neck cancer in patients with diabetes, according to a study published in Head & Neck.

Yung-Chang Yen, MD, PhD, from the Chi Mei Medical Centre in Tainan City, Taiwan, and colleagues compared the risk for head and neck cancer in 2011 among 66,600 patients, all newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2002. Metformin was subsequently taken by half of the patients. The two groups were matched for comorbidities, sexand age.

The incidence of head and neck cancer was 34% lower in the metformin group than in the control group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]=0.66; 95% CI, 0.55–0.79). Similarly, among those taking metformin, the risks for oropharyngeal cancer (adjusted HR=0.66; 95% CI, 0.17–0.74) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (adjusted HR=0.5; 95% CI, 0.31–0.80) were significantly lower.

"These findings indicate the potential clinical benefits of using metformin to prevent patients with diabetes from developing head and neck cancer," the researchers wrote.

Reference

  1. Yen Y-C et al. Head Neck. 2015;37(9):1268-1273.
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