Metformin and the risk of head and neck cancer: a case-control analysis

Becker, C; Jick, S S; Meier, C R; Bodmer, Michael (2014). Metformin and the risk of head and neck cancer: a case-control analysis. Diabetes, obesity and metabolism, 16(11), pp. 1148-1154. Blackwell Science 10.1111/dom.12351

[img] Text
dom12351.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (534kB) | Request a copy


Metformin use has been associated with a decreased risk of some cancers, although data on head and neck cancer (HNC) are scarce. We explored the relation between the use of antidiabetic drugs and the risk of HNC.


We conducted a case-control analysis in the UK-based Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) of people with incident HNC between 1995 and 2013 below the age of 90 years. Six controls per case were matched on age, sex, calendar time, general practice and number of years of active history in the CPRD prior to the index date. Other potential confounders including body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption and comorbidities were also evaluated. The final analyses were adjusted for BMI, smoking and diabetes mellitus (or diabetes duration in a sensitivity analysis). Results are presented as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Use of metformin was neither associated with a statistically significant altered risk of HNC overall (1-29 prescriptions: adjusted OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.61-1.24 and ≥ 30 prescriptions adjusted OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.53-1.22), nor was long-term use of sulphonylureas (adjusted OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.59-1.30), or any insulin use (adjusted OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.63-1.35). However, we found a (statistically non-significant) decreased risk of laryngeal cancer associated with long-term metformin use (adjusted OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.17-1.03).


In this population-based study, the use of antidiabetic drugs was not associated with a materially altered risk of HNC. Our data suggest a protective effect of long-term metformin use for laryngeal cancer.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine > Centre of Competence for General Internal Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Bodmer, Michael


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Blackwell Science




Patricia Rajaonina

Date Deposited:

18 Mar 2015 14:31

Last Modified:

09 Nov 2015 10:47

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

antidiabetic drug, diabetes mellitus, metformin, observational study, pharmacoepidemiology




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback