Kidney Disease End Points in a Pooled Analysis of Individual Patient-Level Data From a Large Clinical Trials Program of the Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 Inhibitor Linagliptin in Type 2 Diabetes

Am J Kidney Dis. 2015 Sep;66(3):441-9. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2015.03.024. Epub 2015 May 7.


Background: Although assessment of cardiovascular safety is mandated by regulatory agencies for the development of new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes, evaluation of their renal safety has been relatively neglected.

Study design: Individual patient-level data pooled analysis of 13 phase 2 or 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trials of the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor linagliptin.

Setting & participants: Participants who participated in any of 13 randomized clinical trials and fulfilled predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria, such as being drug-naive (hemoglobin A1c, 7.0%-11.0% [53-97 mmol/mol]) or being on background glucose-lowering therapy (hemoglobin A1c, 6.5%-10.5% [48-91 mmol/mol]).

Intervention: Of 5,466 consenting individuals with inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes, 3,505 received linagliptin, 5mg/d, and 1,961 received placebo.

Outcomes: The primary kidney disease outcome was defined as first occurrence during the study of 6 predefined safety end points: new onset of moderate elevation of albuminuria (urinary albumin-creatinine ratio [ACR] >30 mg/g with baseline values ≤ 30 mg/g), new onset of severe elevation of albuminuria (ACR > 300 mg/g with baseline values ≤ 300 mg/g), reduction in kidney function (serum creatinine increase to ≥250 μmol/L from a baseline value <250 μmol/L), halving of estimated glomerular filtration rate (loss of baseline eGFR >50%), acute renal failure (ascertained from diagnostic codes), or death from any cause.

Measurements: Albuminuria was assessed using ACR. GFR was estimated using the CKD-EPI (Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration) equation.

Results: Cumulative exposure (person-years) was 1,751 for linagliptin and 1,055 for placebo. The primary composite outcome occurred in 448 (12.8%) and 306 (15.6%) participants in the linagliptin and placebo groups, respectively. Linagliptin treatment significantly reduced the hazard of kidney disease events by 16% compared with placebo (HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.72-0.97; P=0.02).

Limitations: Retrospective and hypothesis-generating study involving short- to midterm clinical trials.

Conclusions: Linagliptin was not associated with increased kidney disease risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. The potential of this drug to improve kidney disease outcomes warrants further investigation.

Keywords: Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibition; albuminuria; glucose control; glucose-lowering therapy; hyperglycemia; kidney disease end points; linagliptin; pooled analysis; renal function; renal risk; type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / prevention & control
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Linagliptin
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Purines / therapeutic use*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Purines
  • Quinazolines
  • Linagliptin