(HealthDay News) — For women with ovarian cancer, metformin use is associated with significantly improved survival, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in Cancer.

To examine the association between metformin intake and survival in ovarian cancer, Sanjeev Kumar, M.B.B.S., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a retrospective case-control study comparing women with ovarian cancer who received or did not receive metformin. In the preliminary cohort, 72 cases were matched with 143 controls. In a subsequent, definitive analysis involving women with epithelial ovarian cancer, 61 cases were matched with 178 controls.

In the preliminary analysis, the researchers found that cases had significantly improved survival versus controls (five-year disease-specific survival, 73 versus 44 percent). In the definitive analysis, despite similarities in age, disease stage, optimal cytoreduction, serous histology, and platinum chemotherapy between cases and controls, survival was significantly better for cases than controls (67 versus 47 percent). Metformin remained a significant, independent predictor of survival, after adjustment for confounding variables, including disease stage, grade, and histology (hazard ratio, 2.2).

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“In conclusion, the results from our current case-control study demonstrate that metformin intake independently predicts better survival in patients with ovarian cancer,” the authors write. “Although causation could not be assessed by our retrospective study, metformin nevertheless is a strong contender for further clinical studies in ovarian cancer.”

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