Impact of metformin on malignancy in solid organ transplantation

Felicia Bartlett, Spenser January, April Pottebaum, Timothy Horwedel, Andrew F. Malone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Malignancy after solid organ transplant is a common occurrence that is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Literature in the general diabetic population has identified possible antineoplastic properties of metformin. This retrospective study aims to determine if metformin results in a malignancy risk reduction in a cohort of diabetic kidney, liver, and heart transplant recipients. The population included transplant recipients without use of metformin at any time point (DMO arm, n = 147) and those with use of metformin (DMM arm, n = 172); the two arms were matched based on organ type and transplant date prior to application of exclusion criteria. Recipients with prior malignancy, malignancy before diabetes diagnosis, and metformin duration <30 days were excluded. The primary endpoint of malignancy first occurrence post-transplant was not found to be statistically significant at 1, 5, 10, and 15 years. In the subgroup of heart transplant recipients, there was a significant reduction in malignancy at 15 years post-transplant. Older age and Caucasian race were identified as significant risk factors for malignancy, while never smoker was a protective factor. Metformin use in this solid organ transplant cohort was not found to significantly reduce malignancy risk compared to use of other anti-diabetic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13851
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • metformin
  • neoplasms
  • transplantation


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