Despite evidence that has suggested metformin might have potential in cancer, a new study finds the medication doesn’t help patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

The study was to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held in Philadelphia.

In the retrospective study, researchers examined the medical records of 1,360 patients with PDAC, some of whom took metformin.

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Patients with PDAC who took the drug didn’t gain any survival benefit from the medication, the researchers said. The median number of survival days for those who didn’t take the drug was 308 days, compared to 292 days for those who did.

RELATED: Pancreatic Cancer Risk Inversely Linked with Statin Use

“Studies of medication exposure and cancer survival warrant very careful and detailed data collection, which is not always possible in a retrospective study design,” study author Roongruedee Chaiteerakij, M.D., Ph.D., of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn., said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Researchers should exercise caution when initiating clinical trials based on retrospective epidemiologic studies.”


  1. “Metformin Use May Not Improve Pancreatic Cancer Survival.” AACR. April 21, 2015. Accessed April 22, 2015.