An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Metformin on Disease Recurrence in Oral and Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma


Objective: Diabetes mellitus type 2 has been associated with increased cancer risk and cancer related mortality. Metformin, one of the most widely used anti-diabetic medications, has been found to have important anticancer properties in addition to hypoglycemic effects. The effects of metformin on clinical outcomes in oral cavity (OC) and oropharyngeal (OP) squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have not been thoroughly analyzed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of metformin use on cancer recurrence in diabetic patients with oral cavity and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Design: Retrospective review. Setting: Academic tertiary medical center. Patients: Seventy-seven patients with diabetes mellitus type 2 and oral cavity or oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma were treated and followed at our tertiary academic institution and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System from 1998 to 2012. Main Outcome Measure: Cox proportional hazards models and Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed to determine if metformin has an effect on disease recurrence after primary cancer treatment. Results: Metformin does not appear to have a significant effect on disease recurrence in patients with OC/OP SCC and diabetes mellitus type 2 (p = 0.53). Even when including only patients with stage I or II disease, metformin still did not decrease recurrence (p = 0.60). Conclusion: Herein, our data suggest that metformin use does not significantly impact time until recurrence for diabetic patients with OC/OP SCC.

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C. Thompson, M. Wang, Y. Sanaiha, C. Lai, T. Grogan, D. Elashoff and M. John, "An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Metformin on Disease Recurrence in Oral and Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma," Journal of Cancer Therapy, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2013, pp. 961-965. doi: 10.4236/jct.2013.45109.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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