Incretin-based Drugs and the Incidence of Colorectal Cancer in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

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Abstract

Background:

Evidence on the safety of the incretin-based drugs (glucagon-like peptide-1 [GLP-1] analogues and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 [DPP-4] inhibitors) with respect to colorectal cancer is contradictory. The objective of this study was to determine whether use of incretin-based drugs is associated with risk of incident colorectal cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Methods:

Using data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, we identified a cohort of 112,040 patients newly treated with antidiabetic drugs between 1 January 2007 and 31 March 2015. We modeled use of GLP-1 analogues and DPP-4 inhibitors as time-varying variables and compared them with use of sulfonylureas. We lagged exposures by 1 year for latency and to reduce reverse causality and detection bias. We used time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals of incident colorectal cancer associated with the use of GLP-1 analogues and DPP-4 inhibitors overall, by cumulative duration of use and by time since initiation.

Results:

During 388,619 person-years of follow-up, there were 733 incident colorectal cancer events (incidence rate: 1.9 per 1,000 person-years). Use of GLP-1 analogues was not associated with colorectal cancer incidence (hazard ratio: 1.0; 95% confidence interval = 0.7, 1.6), nor was use of DPP-4 inhibitors (hazard ratio: 1.2; 95% confidence interval = 1.0, 1.5). There was no evidence of a duration–response relation for either drug.

Conclusions:

The results of this large population-based study indicate that use of incretin-based drugs is not associated with colorectal cancer incidence among patients with type 2 diabetes.

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