Large-scale population screenings are not feasible by applying laborious oral glucose tolerance tests, but using fasting blood glucose (FPG) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a considerable number of diagnoses are missed. A novel marker is urgently needed to improve the diagnostic accuracy of broad-scale diabetes screening in easy-to-collect blood samples. In this study, by applying a novel knowledge-based, multistage discovery and validation strategy, we scaled down from 108 diabetes-associated metabolites to a diagnostic metabolite triplet (Met-T), namely hexose, 2-hydroxybutyric/2-hydroxyisobutyric acid, and phenylalanine. Met-T showed in two independent cohorts, each comprising healthy controls, prediabetic, and diabetic individuals, distinctly higher diagnostic sensitivities for diabetes screening than FPG alone (>79.6 vs <68%). Missed diagnoses decreased from >32% using fasting plasma glucose down to <20.4%. Combining Met-T and fasting plasma glucose further improved the diagnostic accuracy. Additionally, a positive association of Met-T with future diabetes risk was found (odds ratio: 1.41; p = 1.03 × 10-6). The results reveal that missed prediabetes and diabetes diagnoses can be markedly reduced by applying Met-T alone or in combination with FPG and it opens perspectives for higher diagnostic accuracy in broad-scale diabetes-screening approaches using easy to collect sample materials.
Förderungeninnovation program of science and research from the DICP, CAS National Key Research and Development Program of China key foundation from the National Natural Science Foundation of China National Natural Science Foundation of China