Research Finds Biomarkers That Can Potentially Predict Which Diabetes Patients Are at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Jan. 26, 2024
Traditional standards of care for determining cardiovascular disease risk have grown outdated, but new research points a way forward

Research from an international academic consortium has found 13 biomarkers that significantly improve the ability to accurately predict the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes “are two times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes.” However, it has historically been challenging for doctors to figure out which people are at higher risk than others, as traditional risk scores “have become dated and do not perform well in diverse populations.”

The research team reviewed medical studies published from the year 1990 onward with the goal of identifying “readily available ways to accurately classify patients so that those at higher risk of cardiovascular disease can receive the preventative care they need,” according to Maria F. Gomez, PhD, who is a co-senior author of the analysis, a research group leader at the Lund University Diabetes Centre, and professor of physiology at Lund University.

Nestoras Mathioudakis, M.D., M.H.S., co-senior author of the analysis, co-medical director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Diabetes Prevention & Education Program, and an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, identified that a specific goal of the study was to “identify promising markers that could improve cardiovascular risk prediction in people with type 2 diabetes…beyond traditional prognostic factors like hypertension and smoking.”

To these ends, the team analyzed data on 321 biomarkers and “found that 13 were significantly associated with cardiovascular risk in people with type 2 diabetes. The standout biomarker was N-terminal pro b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP)…The team found that, across several studies, higher levels of NT-proBNP in the body correlated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. One study of 16,000 patients that the team reviewed found a 64% hazard rate increase for every standard deviation increase of NT-proBNP.”

Ronald Ma, M.B. B.Chir., FRCP, FHKCP, FHKAM, co-senior author of the analysis and S.H. Ho Professor of Diabetes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, presages that “if future studies confirm [these biomarkers’ and especially NT-proBNP’s] value in predicting cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes, we may be able to change standards of care.”

Hopkins Medicine has the release.