A complete list of centers, investigators, and staff for the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group can be found in the supplementary material online.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Clinical trial reg. nos. NCT00004992 and NCT00038727, clinicaltrials.gov

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