Breast Cancer Risk for Women with Diabetes and The Impact of Metformin – A Meta-analysis


Background: Diabetes mellitus has been associated with increased breast cancer (BC) risk; however, the magnitude of this effect is uncertain. This study focused on BC risk for women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Methods: Two separate meta-analyses were conducted to (1) estimate the relative risk (RR) of BC for women with T2DM and (2) to evaluate the risk of BC for women with T2DM associated with the use of metformin, a common diabetes treatment. In addition, subgroup analyses adjusting for obesity as measured by body-mass-index (BMI) and menopausal status were also performed. Studies were identified via PubMed/Scopus database and manual search through April 2021. Results: A total of 30 and 15 studies were included in the first and second meta-analysis, respectively. The summary RR of BC for women with T2DM was 1.15 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09-1.21). The subgroup analyses adjusting BMI and adjusting BMI and menopause resulted in a summary RR of 1.22 (95% CI, 1.15-1.30) and 1.20 (95% CI, 1.05-1.36), respectively. For women with T2DM, the summary RR of BC was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.60-1.12) for metformin users compared with non-metformin users. Conclusions: Women with T2DM were more likely to be diagnosed with BC and this association was strengthened by adjusting for BMI and menopausal status. No statistically significant reduction of BC risk was observed among metformin users. Impact: These two meta-analyses can inform decision-making for women with type 2 diabetes regarding their use of metformin and use of screening mammography for early detection of breast cancer.

Cancer Medicine