Possible protective role of metformin therapy on colonic polyps in acromegaly: an exploratory cross-sectional study

M. Albertelli, E. Nazzari, A. Dotto, L. F. Grasso, S. Sciallero, R. Pirchio, A. Rebora, M. Boschetti, R. Pivonello, S. Ricci Bitti, A. A.L. Colao, D. Ferone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Colonic polyps occur in 30-40% of acromegalic patients, increasing the risk of colon carcinoma. Although debated, there is emerging evidence that metformin may play a protective role in diabetic and non-diabetic patients with colonic polyps and its use in chemoprevention is currently explored. Objective: Evaluate the prevalence of colonic polyps in acromegalic patients treated or not with metformin and explore its possible protective role. Design: Exploratory cross-sectional study in two tertiary Italian referral centres. Met: hods: Out of 153 acromegalic patients, we selected 58 patients (36-82 years; f: 33) who had at least one colonoscopy performed within the first 2 years of diagnosis. Presence of colonic polyps/cancer and related risk factors, current metformin and acetylsalicylic acid intake, disease duration, therapies for acromegaly, hormonal and metabolic parameters were assessed. Results: An overall prevalence of 36% polyps was found. Based on the presence of polyps, we identified two groups, comparable for age, BMI, disease duration, glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, HbA1c, GH and IGF-I levels. Of the patients with polyps (including three adenocarcinomas) only 24% were treated with metformin vs 57% of patients without polyps. Multivariate analysis confirmed a significant negative association between colonic polyps and metformin intake (OR: 0.22, 95% CI: 0.06-0.77, P = 0.01), whereas no significant association was found between polyps and age (P = 0.10), overweight/obesity (P = 0.54), smoking (P = 0.15), acetylsalicylic acid intake (P = 0.99), disease duration (P = 0.96), somatostatin analogues treatment (P = 0.70). Conclusions: These findings, though deriving from an exploratory study, could suggest a protective role of metformin on the development of colonic polyps in acromegaly, and need to be confirmed in an extended study population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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