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Use of Metformin in Patients With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Based on a retrospective review of a large clinical trial database, Hamieh et al reported a survival benefit associated with the use of the antidiabetic drug metformin in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with sunitinib in Clinical Genitourinary Cancer. Corresponding author of this study, Toni K. Choueiri, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues noted that further studies are warranted to validate their results and shed more light on the use of metformin in the clinic.

A total of 4736 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, including 486 with diabetes, were identified in this analysis. Of the entire study population, 218 patients (4.6%) were receiving treatment with metformin.

In diabetic patients receiving sunitinib (128), the use of metformin seemed to be linked to an improvement in overall survival compared with the use of other antidiabetic agents (29.3 vs 20.9 months; P=.0008). However, the investigators emphasized, the use of metformin did not seem to affect overall survival when compared with users of other antidiabetic agents or patients without diabetes.