Differential and Joint effects of metformin and statins on overall survival of elderly patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma: A large population-based study

E. Jian-Yu, Shou En Lu, Yong Lin, Judith M. Graber, David Rotter, Lanjing Zhang, Gloria M. Petersen, Kitaw Demissie, Grace Lu-Yao, Xiang Lin Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Background: Published evidence indicates that individual use of metformin and statin is associated with reduced cancer mortality. However, their differential and joint effects on pancreatic cancer survival are inconclusive. Methods: We identified a large population-based cohort of 12, 572 patients ages 65 years or older with primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) diagnosed between 2008 and 2011 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare-linked database. Exposure to metformin and statins was ascertained from Medicare Prescription Drug Event files. Cox proportional hazards models with time-varying covariates adjusted for propensity scores were used to assess the association while controlling for potential confounders. Results: Of 12, 572 PDAC patients, 950 (7.56%) had used metformin alone, 4, 506 (35.84%) had used statin alone, and 2, 445 (19.45%) were dual users. Statin use was significantly associated with improved overall survival [HR, 0.94; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.90-0.98], and survival was more pronounced in postdiagnosis statin users (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.56-0.86). Metformin use was not significantly associated with overall survival (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.94-1.09). No beneficial effect was observed for dual users (HR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.95-1.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest potential benefits of statins on improving survival among elderly PDAC patients; further prospective studies are warranted to corroborate the putative benefit of statin therapy in pancreatic cancer. Impact: Although more studies are needed to confirm our findings, our data add to the body of evidence on potential anticancer effects of statins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1232
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology

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