Aims: Testosterone and its binding protein sex hormone-binding globulin have been associated with cardiovascular disease and dysglycaemia. However, information on the prognostic implication in patients at high cardiovascular risk with dysglycaemia is inconsistent. The study objective was to determine whether testosterone and/or sex hormone-binding globulin predict cardiovascular events or death in dysglycaemic patients.
Methods: Dysglycaemic males at high cardiovascular risk ( n = 5553) who participated in the Outcome Reduction with an Initial Glargine Intervention (ORIGIN) trial and provided baseline blood samples were studied. Testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin were measured at baseline and used to estimate free testosterone. Low levels of total and free testosterone were defined as ≤300 ng/dl and ≤7 ng/dl, respectively. Patients were followed for six years for cardiovascular events (defined as the composite of cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction or stroke) and all-cause mortality.
Results: The mean total and free testosterone levels were 416.6 ng/dl and 8.4 ng/dl, and low levels were present in 13% and 37% of the patients. The median sex hormone-binding globulin level was 35 nmol/l. In Cox regression models adjusted for age, previous diseases and pharmacological treatment, neither total nor free testosterone predicted cardiovascular events. However, a one-standard-deviation increase in sex hormone-binding globulin predicted both cardiovascular events (hazard ratio 1.07; 95% confidence interval 1.00–1.14; p = 0.03) and all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 1.13; 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.21; p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Sex hormone-binding globulin, but not total testosterone, predicts cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in dysglycaemic males at high cardiovascular risk.