J Gastrointest Cancer. 2023 Nov 21. doi: 10.1007/s12029-023-00989-2. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Recent studies suggested a protective role of metformin in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) and its precursors. We aimed to investigate if metformin was associated with a lower prevalence and number of colorectal polyps in diabetic patients and also adenomas, high-risk adenomas, and CRC.
METHODS: Retrospective study on adult patients with diabetes mellitus followed in our hospital with a total colonoscopy between 2015 and 2019, treated with either metformin for > 5 years or other antidiabetic agent (control group). We assessed the number, size, and histopathology examination of proliferative lesions detected on colonoscopy.
RESULTS: We included 401 patients aged 69 ± 9 years, 57% males, divided into two groups: treated with metformin (n = 260) and without (n = 141). The number of polyps detected was significantly lower in patients under metformin (p = 0.014). There was a nonsignificant trend towards lower polyp detection rates in the metformin compared to the control group both in unadjusted analysis (50% vs 60%, p = 0.058) and multivariable adjusted analysis (odds ratio [OR] 0.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43-1.09, p = 0.111). In the latter, we identified male gender (OR 2.24, 95%CI 1.44-3.49, p < 0.001), age (OR 1.35 for every 10 years, 95%CI 1.07-1.71, p = 0.012), glycated hemoglobin value (OR 1.20 for every 1% increase, 95%CI 1.06-1.37, p = 0.005), and hypertension (OR 1.76, 95%CI 1.01-3.08, p = 0.046) as factors associated with a higher prevalence of polyps. We saw no statistically significant differences regarding adenoma (p = 0.231), high-risk adenoma (p = 0.810), and CRC (p = 0.705) diagnoses between groups.
CONCLUSION: In our study, metformin was associated with less colorectal polyps in diabetic patients compared to other treatment modalities. We observed a nonsignificant trend towards lower polyp detection rates in the metformin group both in unadjusted and adjusted analyses.