Predicting short- and long-term glycated haemoglobin response after insulin initiation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus using machine-learning algorithms

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2019 Dec;21(12):2704-2711. doi: 10.1111/dom.13860. Epub 2019 Sep 30.


Aim: To assess the potential of supervised machine-learning techniques to identify clinical variables for predicting short-term and long-term glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) response after insulin treatment initiation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Materials and methods: We included patients with T2DM from the Groningen Initiative to Analyse Type 2 diabetes Treatment (GIANTT) database who started insulin treatment between 2007 and 2013 and had a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Short- and long-term responses at 6 (±2) and 24 (±2) months after insulin initiation, respectively, were assessed. Patients were defined as good responders if they had a decrease in HbA1c ≥ 5 mmol/mol or reached the recommended level of HbA1c ≤ 53 mmol/mol. Twenty-four baseline clinical variables were used for the analysis and an elastic net regularization technique was used for variable selection. The performance of three traditional machine-learning algorithms was compared for the prediction of short- and long-term responses and the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUC) was used to assess the performance of the prediction models.

Results: The elastic net regularization-based generalized linear model, which included baseline HbA1c and estimated glomerular filtration rate, correctly classified short- and long-term HbA1c response after treatment initiation, with AUCs of 0.80 (95% CI 0.78-0.83) and 0.81 (95% CI 0.79-0.84), respectively, and outperformed the other machine-learning algorithms. Using baseline HbA1c alone, an AUC = 0.71 (95% CI 0.65-0.73) and 0.72 (95% CI 0.66-0.75) was obtained for predicting short-term and long-term response, respectively.

Conclusions: Machine-learning algorithm performed well in the prediction of an individual's short-term and long-term HbA1c response using baseline clinical variables.

Keywords: cohort study; database research; insulin therapy; observational study; primary care; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Machine Learning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human