The benefits of CANA for HF in people with T2D at CV risk appeared to be statistically mediated by erythrocyte concentration, serum urate, and urinary albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR) in the CANVAS Program. CANA reduced the risk of HF in patients with T2D and CKD in CREDENCE. We explored potential mediators of CANA’s effects on the composite of hospitalized HF (HHF) and CV death.

Mediation analyses are hypothesis-generating observational analyses that calculate the effect of selected biomarkers on the overall treatment effect using time-varying Cox regression. We compared hazard ratios for the effect of randomized treatment from an unadjusted model versus a model adjusted for the average post-randomization level of the biomarker of interest. 62 routine clinical biomarkers and vital sign indicators were collected on all participants and tested as potential mediators. When multiple potential mediators represented a single pathway, those with the strongest univariable mediation were tested in multivariable models.

12 biomarkers, including 3 markers of volume/erythropoiesis (hematocrit [24%], hemoglobin [32%], erythrocytes [27%]), 2 markers of kidney function (UACR [28%], eGFR from wk 3 [7.4%]), and serum albumin (39%), serum protein (24%), lactate dehydrogenase (13%), systolic BP (10%), urine pH (8%), serum urate (7%) and gamma glutamyltransferase (4%), mediated the effect of CANA on HHF/CV death in univariable models. In the multivariable model, hemoglobin, UACR, serum urate and systolic BP maximized cumulative mediation (74%).

A diverse set of potential mediators of CANA’s effect on HHF/CV death were identified with serum albumin, hemoglobin (or its analogues) and UACR being the most important. The extent to which these mediators reflect underlying inflammatory, nutritional, volume-related or cardiorenal pathways is unclear and underscores the need for further research into the mechanisms of benefit of SGLT2 inhibitors.


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