Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Apr;9(4):745-55. doi: 10.2215/CJN.05450513. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

Biomarkers of vascular calcification and mortality in patients with ESRD.

Author information

Department of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida;, †Department of Epidemiology,, §Department of Biostatistics, and, ‡Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland;, ‖Department of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital and University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California;, ¶Department of Epidemiology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia;, *Nephrology Center of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, ††Hospital for Sick Children, University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Vascular calcification is common among patients undergoing dialysis and is associated with mortality. Factors such as osteoprotegerin (OPG), osteopontin (OPN), bone morphogenic protein-7 (BMP-7), and fetuin-A are involved in vascular calcification.


OPG, OPN, BMP-7, and fetuin-A were measured in blood samples from 602 incident dialysis patients recruited from United States dialysis centers between 1995 and 1998 as part of the Choices for Healthy Outcomes In Caring for ESRD Study. Their association with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for demographic characteristics, comorbidity, serum phosphate, and calcium. An interaction with diabetes was tested because of its known association with vascular calcification. Predictive accuracy of selected biomarkers was explored by C-statistics in nested models with training and validation subcohorts.


Higher OPG and lower fetuin-A levels were associated with higher mortality over up to 13 years of follow-up (median, 3.4 years). The adjusted hazard ratios (HR) for highest versus lowest tertile were 1.49 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.08 to 2.06) for OPG and 0.69 (95% CI, 0.52 to 0.92) for fetuin-A. In stratified models, the highest tertile of OPG was associated with higher mortality among patients without diabetes (HR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.35 to 4.34), but not patients with diabetes (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.82 to 1.93; P for interaction=0.001). In terms of cardiovascular mortality, higher fetuin-A was associated with lower risk (HR, 0.85 per 0.1 g/L: 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.96). In patients without diabetes, higher OPG was associated with greater risk (HR for highest versus lowest tertile, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.06 to 7.99), but not in patients with diabetes or overall. OPN and BMP-7 were not independently associated with outcomes overall. The addition of OPG and fetuin-A did not significantly improve predictive accuracy of mortality.


OPG and fetuin-A may be risk factors for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in patients undergoing dialysis, but do not improve risk prediction.


diabetes; end-stage renal disease; vascular calcification

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center