(HealthDay News) — Despite evidence that has suggested metformin might have potential in cancer, a new study finds the medication doesn’t help patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). 

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

In the retrospective study, researchers examined the medical records of 1,360 patients with PDAC, some of whom took metformin.

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Patients with PDAC who took the drug did not gain any survival benefit from the medication, the researchers said. The median number of survival days for those who did not take the drug was 308 days, compared with 292 days for those who did.

“Studies of medication exposure and cancer survival warrant very careful and detailed data collection, which is not always possible in a retrospective study design,” study author Roongruedee Chaiteerakij, MD, PhD, of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research. 

“Researchers should exercise caution when initiating clinical trials based on retrospective epidemiologic studies.”


  1. Chaiteerakij R et al. Abstract LB-183. Presented at: American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting; April 18-22, 2015; Philadelphia.