Metformin use reduced the risk of stomach cancer in diabetic patients in Korea: an analysis of Korean NHIS-HEALS database

Joungyoun Kim, Hyeong Jin Hyun, Eun A. Choi, Yonghwan Kim, Yoon Jong Bae, Hee Taik Kang

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14 Scopus citations


Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) increases atherosclerotic cardiovascular complications and cancer risks. Stomach cancer is the most common cancer in Korea. Although the survival rate of stomach cancer has improved, the disease burden is still high. Methods: This retrospective study investigated the association between metformin use and stomach cancer incidence in a Korean population using the National Health Insurance Service-National Health Screening Cohort database. Participants aged 40–80 years old at the baseline period (2002–2003) were enrolled. The study population was categorized into three groups of metformin non-users with DM, metformin users with DM, and individuals without DM (No DM group). Results: A total of 347,895 participants (14,922 metformin non-users, 9891 metformin users, and 323,082 individuals without DM) were included in the final analysis. The median follow-up duration was 12.70 years. The estimated cumulative incidence of stomach cancer was highest in metformin non-users and lowest in the No DM group (men vs. women: 3.75 vs. 1.97% in metformin non-users, 2.91 vs. 1.53% in metformin users, and 2.54 vs. 0.95% in the No DM group). Compared with metformin non-users, the hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for stomach cancer incidence of metformin users and the No DM group were 0.710 (0.579–0.870) and 0.879 (0.767–1.006) in men and 0.700 (0.499–0.981) and 0.701 (0.544–0.903) in women, respectively, after full adjustment. Conclusions: Metformin users with DM in the Korean population were at lower risk of stomach cancer incidence after controlling for potential confounding factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1083
Number of pages9
JournalGastric Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Incidence
  • Metformin
  • Stomach neoplasm


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