Metformin and high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I and T trajectories in type 2 diabetes patients: a post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial

Johanna M G Stultiens, Wiebe M C Top, Dorien M Kimenai, Philippe Lehert, Otto Bekers, Coen D A Stehouwer, Adriaan Kooy, Steven J R Meex*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Metformin has favorable effects on cardiovascular outcomes in both newly onset and advanced type 2 diabetes, as previously reported findings from the UK Prospective Diabetes Study and the HOME trial have demonstrated. Patients with type 2 diabetes present with chronically elevated circulating cardiac troponin levels, an established predictor of cardiovascular endpoints and prognostic marker of subclinical myocardial injury. It is unknown whether metformin affects cardiac troponin levels. The study aimed to evaluate cardiac troponin I and T trajectories in patients with diabetes treated either with metformin or placebo.

METHODS: This study is a post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial (HOME trial) that included 390 patients with advanced type 2 diabetes randomized to 850 mg metformin or placebo up to three times daily concomitant to continued insulin treatment. Cardiac troponin I and T concentrations were measured at baseline and after 4, 17, 30, 43 and 52 months. We evaluated cardiac troponin trajectories by linear mixed-effects modeling, correcting for age, sex, smoking status and history of cardiovascular disease.

RESULTS: This study enrolled 390 subjects, of which 196 received metformin and 194 received placebo. In the treatment and placebo groups, mean age was 64 and 59 years; with 50% and 58% of subjects of the female sex, respectively. Despite the previously reported reduction of macrovascular disease risk in this cohort by metformin, linear mixed-effects regression modelling did not reveal evidence for an effect on cardiac troponin I and cardiac troponin T levels [- 8.4% (- 18.6, 3.2), p = 0.150, and - 4.6% (- 12, 3.2), p = 0.242, respectively]. A statistically significant time-treatment interaction was found for troponin T [- 1.6% (- 2.9, - 0.2), p = 0.021] but not troponin I concentrations [- 1.5% (- 4.2, 1.2), p = 0.263].

CONCLUSIONS: In this post-hoc analysis of a 4.3-year randomized controlled trial, metformin did not exert a clinically relevant effect on cardiac troponin I and cardiac troponin T levels when compared to placebo. Cardioprotective effects of the drug observed in clinical studies are not reflected by a reduction in these biomarkers of subclinical myocardial injury. Trial registration identifier NCT00375388.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2022


  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents/adverse effects
  • Metformin/adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Troponin I
  • Biomarker
  • Longitudinal
  • Cardioprotective
  • Cardiac
  • RISK
  • Mechanism
  • Troponin
  • Metformin

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