Change in Albuminuria and GFR as End Points for Clinical Trials in Early Stages of CKD: A Scientific Workshop Sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation in Collaboration With the US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency

Am J Kidney Dis. 2020 Jan;75(1):84-104. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2019.06.009. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) are currently willing to consider a 30% to 40% glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decline as a surrogate end point for kidney failure for clinical trials of kidney disease progression under appropriate conditions. However, these end points may not be practical for early stages of kidney disease. In March 2018, the National Kidney Foundation sponsored a scientific workshop in collaboration with the FDA and EMA to evaluate changes in albuminuria or GFR as candidate surrogate end points. Three parallel efforts were presented: meta-analyses of observational studies (cohorts), meta-analyses of clinical trials, and simulations of trial design. In cohorts, after accounting for measurement error, relationships between change in urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) or estimated GFR (eGFR) slope and the clinical outcome of kidney disease progression were strong and consistent. In trials, the posterior median R2 of treatment effects on the candidate surrogates with the clinical outcome was 0.47 (95% Bayesian credible interval [BCI], 0.02-0.96) for early change in UACR and 0.72 (95% BCI, 0.05-0.99) when restricted to baseline UACR>30mg/g, and 0.97 (95% BCI, 0.78-1.00) for total eGFR slope at 3 years and 0.96 (95% BCI, 0.63-1.00) for chronic eGFR slope (ie, the slope excluding the first 3 months from baseline, when there might be acute changes in eGFR). The magnitude of the relationships of changes in the candidate surrogates with risk for clinical outcome was consistent across cohorts and trials: a UACR reduction of 30% or eGFR slope reduction by 0.5 to 1.0mL/min/1.73m2 per year were associated with an HR of ∼0.7 for the clinical outcome in cohorts and trials. In simulations, using GFR slope as an end point substantially reduced the required sample size and duration of follow-up compared with the clinical end point when baseline eGFR was high, treatment effects were uniform, and there was no acute effect of the treatment. We conclude that both early change in albuminuria and GFR slope fulfill criteria for surrogacy for use as end points in clinical trials for chronic kidney disease progression under certain conditions, with stronger support for change in GFR than albuminuria. Implementation requires understanding conditions under which each surrogate is likely to perform well and restricting its use to those settings.

Keywords: Surrogate endpoints; albuminuria; albuminuria change; biomarker; chronic kidney disease (CKD); clinical trials; drug approval; eGFR slope; eGFR trajectory; estimated GFR (eGFR); evidence synthesis; glomerular filtration rate (GFR); kidney disease progression; renal outcome; trial design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / metabolism*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Approval
  • Europe
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine