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Is there an association between liraglutide use and female breast cancer in a real-world setting?

Authors Funch D, Mortimer K, Li L, Norman H, Major-Pedersen A, Olsen AH, Kaltoft MS, Dore DD

Received 18 April 2018

Accepted for publication 3 August 2018

Published 22 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 791—806


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ming-Hui Zou

Donnie Funch,1 Kathleen Mortimer,1 Ling Li,1 Heather Norman,1 Atheline Major-Pedersen,2 Anne Helene Olsen,3 Margit S Kaltoft,4 David D Dore1,5

1Optum Epidemiology, Boston, MA, USA; 2Global Safety, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3Epidemiology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark; 4Global Development, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark; 5Department of Health Services, Policy & Practice, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA

Background: Liraglutide is a human glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist approved for treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus at a maximum dose of 1.8 mg/day (Victoza®) and more recently at 3.0 mg/day for weight management (Saxenda®). During the evaluation of liraglutide for approval in weight management, a minor imbalance in the numbers of reported breast neoplasms was observed, motivating the present study. Our objective was to quantify the association between liraglutide and incidence of breast cancer (BC) among women in a real-world setting.
Patients and methods: Women initiating liraglutide or other antidiabetic therapies and who were enrolled in a large US health plan (2010–2014) were included. Comparisons of BC incidence rates were made between matched cohorts of initiators of liraglutide and cohorts of initiators of exenatide, metformin, pioglitazone, sulfonylureas, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors separately and as two “all comparators” groupings: with or without exenatide. Women with two or more claims with BC diagnosis codes within 61days of each other were identified as possible cases, with additional confirmation by clinician review of comprehensive claims listings. Propensity score matched intention-to-treat (ITT) and time-on-drug (TOD) analyses were completed via Poisson regression. A latency analysis was performed.
Results: Relative risks for BC for liraglutide vs comparators from the ITT analyses ranged from 0.90 (95% CI: 0.67–1.22) for both the “all comparator” and “all comparator except exenatide” cohorts to 1.46 (95% CI: 0.96–2.22) relative to exenatide. Latency analyses excluding the first year of follow-up yielded slightly attenuated point estimates. The TOD analyses of cumulative use of liraglutide suggested no increased risk of BC.
Conclusion: Neither the ITT (overall or latency analysis) nor cumulative TOD analyses suggested an elevated risk of BC among liraglutide initiators. Short length of follow-up and the potential for confounding by unmeasured factors limit the full assessment of long-term risk.

glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, type 2 diabetes, administrative claims, intention-to-treat, time-on-drug

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