Gamma glutamyltransferase and long-term survival: is it just the liver?

Clin Chem. 2007 May;53(5):940-6. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2006.081620. Epub 2007 Mar 23.


Background: Increased gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) is associated with cardiovascular disease. To date, however, few studies with sufficient sample size and follow-up have investigated the association of GGT with all-cause mortality.

Methods: The relation of GGT to the risk of death was examined in a cohort of 283 438 first attendants (inpatients or outpatients) of the Vienna General Hospital with request for GGT analysis as part of a routine screening panel and was monitored for up to 13 years. To evaluate GGT as a predictor, Cox proportional hazards models were calculated, which were adjusted for age and sex.

Results: In both men and women, GGT above the reference category (GGT > or = 9 U/L in women, > or = 14 U/L in men) was significantly (P <0.001) associated with all-cause, cancer, hepatobiliary, and vascular mortalities. Hazard ratios (HRs) for men and women were similar in all categories. Among patients who presented with GGT above the reference category, those younger than 30 years had higher all-cause mortality rates than did older individuals (HR 1.5-3.3 vs HR 1-1.3 >80 years, respectively).

Conclusions: GGT is associated with mortality in both men and women, especially in patients younger than 30 years, and even high-normal GGT is a risk factor for all-cause mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / diagnosis
  • Liver Diseases / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood*


  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase