Objective: To determine whether metformin or lifestyle modification can lower rates of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the Diabetes Prevention Program and Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study.
Research design and methods: From 1996 to 1999, 3,234 adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes were randomized to an intensive lifestyle intervention, masked metformin, or placebo. Placebo and lifestyle interventions stopped in 2001, and a modified lifestyle program was offered to everyone, but unmasked study metformin continued in those originally randomized. Causes of deaths through 31 December 2018 were adjudicated by blinded reviews. All-cause and cause-specific mortality hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated from Cox proportional hazards regression models and Fine-Gray models, respectively.
Results: Over a median of 21 years (interquartile range 20-21), 453 participants died. Cancer was the leading cause of death (n = 170), followed by cardiovascular disease (n = 131). Compared with placebo, metformin did not influence mortality from all causes (HR 0.99 [95% CI 0.79, 1.25]), cancer (HR 1.04 [95% CI 0.72, 1.52]), or cardiovascular disease (HR 1.08 [95% CI 0.70, 1.66]). Similarly, lifestyle modification did not impact all-cause (HR 1.02 [95% CI 0.81, 1.28]), cancer (HR 1.07 [95% CI 0.74, 1.55]), or cardiovascular disease (HR 1.18 [95% CI 0.77, 1.81]) mortality. Analyses adjusted for diabetes status and duration, BMI, cumulative glycemic exposure, and cardiovascular risks yielded results similar to those for all-cause mortality.
Conclusions: Cancer was the leading cause of mortality among adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Although metformin and lifestyle modification prevented diabetes, neither strategy reduced all-cause, cancer, or cardiovascular mortality rates.
© 2021 by the American Diabetes Association.