Pioglitazone and bladder cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Huilin Tang, Weilong Shi, Shuangshuang Fu, Tiansheng Wang, Suodi Zhai, Yiqing Song, Jiali Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Current evidence about the association between pioglitazone and bladder cancer risk remains conflict. We aimed to assess the risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of pioglitazone and identify modifiers that affect the results. We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from inception to 25 August 2016 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies that evaluated the association between pioglitazone and bladder cancer risk. Conventional and cumulative meta-analyses were used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). A restricted spline regression analysis was used to examine the dose–response relationship with a generalized least-squares trend test. We included two RCTs involving 9114 patients and 20 observational studies (n = 4,846,088 individuals). An increased risk of bladder cancer in patients treated with pioglitazone versus placebo was noted from RCTs (OR, 1.84; 95%CI, 0.99 to 3.42). In observational studies, the increased risk of bladder cancer was slight but significant among ever-users of pioglitazone versus never-users (OR, 1.13; 95%CI, 1.03 to 1.25), which appeared to be both time- (P = 0.003) and dose-dependent (P = 0.05). In addition, we observed the association differed by region of studies (Europe, United States, or Asia) or source of funding (sponsored by industry or not). Current evidence suggests that pioglitazone may increase the risk of bladder cancer, possibly in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Patients with long-term and high-dose exposure to pioglitazone should be monitored regularly for signs of bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1070-1080
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Bladder cancer
  • dose–response relationship
  • meta-analysis
  • pioglitazone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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