Rationale, design, and baseline characteristics of the CArdiovascular safety and Renal Microvascular outcomE study with LINAgliptin (CARMELINA ®): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in patients with type 2 diabetes and high cardio-renal risk

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2018 Mar 14;17(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s12933-018-0682-3.


Background: Cardiovascular (CV) outcome trials in type 2 diabetes (T2D) have underrepresented patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), leading to uncertainty regarding their kidney efficacy and safety. The CARMELINA® trial aims to evaluate the effects of linagliptin, a DPP-4 inhibitor, on both CV and kidney outcomes in a study population enriched for cardio-renal risk.

Methods: CARMELINA® is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in 27 countries in T2D patients at high risk of CV and/or kidney events. Participants with evidence of CKD with or without CV disease and HbA1c 6.5-10.0% (48-86 mmol/mol) were randomized 1:1 to receive linagliptin once daily or matching placebo, added to standard of care adjusted according to local guidelines. The primary outcome is time to first occurrence of CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke. The key secondary outcome is a composite of time to first sustained occurrence of end-stage kidney disease, ≥ 40% decrease in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) from baseline, or renal death. CV and kidney events are prospectively adjudicated by independent, blinded clinical event committees. CARMELINA® was designed to continue until at least 611 participants had confirmed primary outcome events. Assuming a hazard ratio of 1.0, this provides 90% power to demonstrate non-inferiority of linagliptin versus placebo within the pre-specified non-inferiority margin of 1.3 at a one-sided α-level of 2.5%. If non-inferiority of linagliptin for the primary outcome is demonstrated, then its superiority for both the primary outcome and the key secondary outcome will be investigated with a sequentially rejective multiple test procedure.

Results: Between July 2013 and August 2016, 6980 patients were randomized and took ≥ 1 dose of study drug (40.6, 33.1, 16.9, and 9.4% from Europe, South America, North America, and Asia, respectively). At baseline, mean ± SD age was 65.8 ± 9.1 years, HbA1c 7.9 ± 1.0%, BMI 31.3 ± 5.3 kg/m2, and eGFR 55 ± 25 mL/min/1.73 m2. A total of 5148 patients (73.8%) had prevalent kidney disease (defined as eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 or macroalbuminuria [albumin-to-creatinine ratio > 300 mg/g]) and 3990 patients (57.2%) had established CV disease with increased albuminuria; these characteristics were not mutually exclusive. Microalbuminuria (n = 2896 [41.5%]) and macroalbuminuria (n = 2691 [38.6%]) were common.

Conclusions: CARMELINA® will add important information regarding the CV and kidney disease clinical profile of linagliptin by including an understudied, vulnerable cohort of patients with T2D at highest cardio-renal risk. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov identifier-NCT01897532; registered July 9, 2013.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Clinical trial, phase IV; Diabetes mellitus, type 2; Diabetic nephropathies; Dipeptidyl-peptidase IV inhibitors; Linagliptin; Research design; Treatment outcome.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / mortality
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / mortality
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / drug effects
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Linagliptin / adverse effects
  • Linagliptin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / mortality
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Linagliptin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01897532