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CHEST: Diabetes Drugs May Prevent Cancer Progression

Metformin and TZDs tied to lower risk of metastatic lung cancer and improved survival

TUESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with diabetes and a history of lung cancer who have been exposed to metformin and/or thiazolidinediones (TZDs) appear to be at a lower risk for metastatic lung cancer and may survive longer, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4 in Vancouver, Canada.

Peter J. Mazzone, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues reviewed medical records of 157 patients with diabetes who had a history of lung cancer. The investigators compared lung cancer characteristics between patients exposed to metformin and/or TZDs prior to lung cancer diagnosis and those who had not received these drugs prior to diagnosis.

The investigators found that patients exposed to metformin and/or TZDs prior to lung cancer diagnosis had a lower risk of presenting with metastatic disease compared to those who were not exposed to these drugs (20.0 versus 42.4 percent). In addition, patients exposed to these medications were more likely to present with an adenocarcinoma and less likely to present with a small cell or squamous cell carcinoma. After correction for stage, the hazard ratio for survival in those exposed to metformin and/or TZDs was 0.56 (P = 0.056).

"The initial trend we have seen is toward metformin being more protective than TZDs," Mazzone said in a statement. "The findings from our completed study may lead to chemoprevention studies in at-risk groups, and, possibly, trials that add one or both of these medications to standard treatment."

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