The effects of incretin‐based therapies on β‐cell function and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and network meta‐analysis combining 360 trials Academic Article uri icon

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  • AIM: To evaluate the comparative effects of incretin-based therapies, including glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4Is), on β-cell function and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library and were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a duration of at least 4 weeks. Network meta-analysis was performed, followed by subgroup analysis and meta-regression. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to assess the quality of evidence. Outcomes of interest include homeostasis model assessment for β cell function (HOMA-β) and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), fasting C-peptide and fasting plasma glucose (FPG). Weighted mean difference (WMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated as the measure of effect size. RESULTS: A total of 360 RCTs (74% at least double-blinded) with 157 696 patients were included. Incretin-based therapies were compared with six other classes of glucose-lowering drugs or with placebo. Compared with placebo, a significant increase in HOMA-β and fasting C-peptide was detected for GLP-1RAs (WMD = 20.31 [95% CI, 16.34-24.39] with low quality; WMD = 0.16 ng/mL [95% CI, 0.03-0.29] with low quality) and for DPP-4Is (WMD = 9.90 [95% CI, 8.27-11.61] with moderate quality; WMD = 0.09 ng/mL [95% CI, 0.04-0.14] with moderate quality) separately, while a significant reduction in HOMA-IR and FPG were found in favour of GLP-1RAs (WMD = -0.67 [95% CI, -1.08 to -0.27] with low quality; WMD = -1.04 mmol/L [95% CI, -1.26 to -0.83] with moderate quality) and DPP-4Is (WMD = -0.23 [95% CI, -0.38 to -0.08] with low quality; WMD = -0.77 mmol/L [95% CI, -0.98 to -0.57] with moderate quality), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Incretin-based therapies not only show an increase in HOMA-β and fasting C-peptide level, but also achieve a reduction in HOMA-IR and FPG in comparison with placebo. Although GRADE scores indicate low to moderate for most comparisons, incretin-based therapies seem to be an advisable option for long-term treatment to preserve β-cell function.


  • Wu, Shanshan
  • Gao, Le
  • Cipriani, Andrea
  • Huang, Yi
  • Yang, Zhirong
  • Yang, Jun
  • Yu, Shuqing
  • Zhang, Yuan
  • Chai, Sanbao
  • Zhang, Zilu
  • Sun, Feng
  • Zhan, Siyan

publication date

  • April 2019