Metformin use and survival after non-small cell lung cancer: A cohort study in the US Military health system

Jie Lin*, Abegail Gill, Shelia H. Zahm, Corey A. Carter, Craig D. Shriver, Joel A. Nations, William F. Anderson, Katherine A. McGlynn, Kangmin Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Research suggests that metformin may be associated with improved survival in cancer patients with type II diabetes. This study assessed whether metformin use after non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis is associated with overall survival among type II diabetic patients with NSCLC in the U.S. military health system (MHS). The study included 636 diabetic patients with histologically confirmed NSCLC diagnosed between 2002 and 2007, identified from the linked database from the Department of Defense's Central Cancer Registry (CCR) and the Military Health System Data Repository (MDR). Time-dependent multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between metformin use and overall survival during follow-up. Among the 636 patients, 411 died during the follow-up. The median follow-up time was 14.6 months. Increased post-diagnosis cumulative use (per 1 year of use) conferred a significant reduction in mortality (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 0.76; 95% CI = 0.65–0.88). Further analysis by duration of use revealed that compared to non-users, the lowest risk reduction occurred among patients with the longest duration of use (i.e. use for more than 2 years) (HR = 0.19; 95% CI = 0.09–0.40). Finally, the reduced mortality was particularly observed only among patients who also used metformin before lung cancer diagnosis and among patients at early stage of diagnosis. Prolonged duration of metformin use in the study population was associated with improved survival, especially among early stage patients. Future research with a larger number of patients is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • metformin
  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • survival
  • type II diabetes


Dive into the research topics of 'Metformin use and survival after non-small cell lung cancer: A cohort study in the US Military health system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this