Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

High plasma FGF21 levels predicts major cardiovascular events in patients treated with atorvastatin (from the Treating to New Targets [TNT] Study).

  • Author(s): Ong, Kwok Leung
  • Hui, Nicholas
  • Januszewski, Andrzej S
  • Kaakoush, Nadeem O
  • Xu, Aimin
  • Fayyad, Rana
  • DeMicco, David A
  • Jenkins, Alicia J
  • Keech, Anthony C
  • Waters, David D
  • Barter, Philip J
  • Rye, Kerry-Anne
  • et al.


Higher plasma fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) levels predict incident cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes patients. However, whether FGF21 levels predict cardiovascular events in statin-treated patients in the general population is unknown. We investigated whether FGF21 levels predict major cardiovascular event (MCVE) in the Treating to New Targets (TNT) trial participants.


After 8-week run-in on atorvastatin 10 mg/day, 10,001 patients with stable coronary disease in the TNT trial were randomized to 10 mg or 80 mg/day of atorvastatin for a median of 4.9 years. We analyzed data from 1996 patients with plasma FGF21 levels measured at randomization. Among them, 1835 patients had FGF21 measured one-year post-randomization.


Higher ln-transformed FGF21 levels at randomization were associated with higher risk of incident MCVE (adjusted hazards ratio per SD increase = 1.18, P = 0.019). At 1-year post-randomization, FGF21 levels were lower in patients randomized to receive 80 mg versus 10 mg atorvastatin (186.9 versus 207.5 pg/mL respectively, P = 0.006). Higher ln-transformed FGF21 levels at 1-year post-randomization were also associated with higher subsequent risk of MCVEs (adjusted hazards ratio per SD increase = 1.24, P = 0.009). However, changes in FGF21 levels over 1-year were not related to subsequent MCVE risk. FGF21 levels had significant incremental value in net reclassification improvement in MCVE risk prediction.


Higher plasma FGF21 levels are associated with higher CVD risk in statin-treated high-risk patients. Higher dose atorvastatin is associated with a reduction in FGF21 levels. FGF21 provides incremental value in CVD risk prediction in statin-treated patients.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View