University of Oulu

Hosio, M., Urpilainen, E., Marttila, M. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2019) 175: 741.

Association of antidiabetic medication and statins with breast cancer incidence in women with type 2 diabetes

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Author: Hosio, Mayu1; Urpilainen, Elina2; Marttila, Mikko3;
Organizations: 1Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, PEDEGO Research Unit, Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu and University Hospital of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Children, Adolescents and Families Unit, Department of Welfare, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu, Finland
4Research Unit of Mathematical Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Service System Research Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
6Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
7Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-13


Purpose: To address the possible association between the use of metformin, other forms of antidiabetic medication (ADM) and statins with the incidence of breast cancer in women with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: Data were collected from a Finnish nationwide diabetes database (FinDM). The study cohort consisted of women diagnosed with T2D in 1996–2011 in Finland. In full-cohort analysis, Poisson regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) in relation to use of metformin, insulin, other forms of oral ADM and statins. In nested case–control analysis, up to 20 controls were matched for age and duration of diabetes to each case of breast cancer. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate HRs in relation to medication use and cumulative use of different forms of ADM, and statins.

Results: 2300 women were diagnosed with breast cancer during follow-up. No difference in breast cancer incidence was observed between metformin users [HR 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93–1.11] or statin users (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.89–1.05) compared with non-users. In nested case–control analysis the results were similar. Use of insulin (HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.03–1.36) was associated with a slightly increased incidence of breast cancer.

Conclusions: No evidence of an association between the use of metformin or statins and the incidence of breast cancer in women with T2D was found. Among insulin users, a slightly higher incidence of breast cancer was observed.

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Series: Breast cancer research and treatment
ISSN: 0167-6806
ISSN-E: 1573-7217
ISSN-L: 0167-6806
Volume: 175
Issue: 3
Pages: 741 - 748
DOI: 10.1007/s10549-019-05185-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
3122 Cancers
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.This study was funded by Grants from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation (Grant Number T59127), the Cancer Society of Finland, the Cancer Society of Northern Finland, the Finnish Association of Gynaecological Surgery, Orion Research Foundation sr, The Finnish Medical Foundation, Oulu Medical Research Foundation and Finnish Government Research Funds granted to the University Hospital of Oulu (Grant Number K77729).
Dataset Reference: Supplementary material 1 (XLS 35 KB). Supplementary Table Details of Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) codes and percentages of oral ADM and statins
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019.This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.