Introduction Differences in mortality and cause-specific mortality rates according to glycated albumin (GA) and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels among dialysis patients with diabetes based on hypoglycemic agent use and malnutrition status remain unclear. Here, we examine these associations using a nationwide cohort. Research design and methods We examined 40 417 dialysis patients with diabetes who met our inclusion criteria (female, 30.8%; mean age, 67.3±11.2 years; mean dialysis duration, 5.4±4.6 years). The Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition criteria were used to assess malnutrition. Adjusted HRs and 95% confidence limits were calculated for 3-year mortality after adjustment for 18 potential confounders. HRs and subdistribution HRs were used to explore cause-specific mortality. Results We found a linear association between 3-year mortality and GA levels only in patients with GA ≥18% and not in patients with low GA levels, with a U-shaped association between HbA1c levels and the lowest morality at an HbA1c 6.0%-6.3%. This association differed based on patient conditions and hypoglycemic agent use. If patients using hypoglycemic agents were malnourished, mortality was increased with GA ≥24% and HbA1c ≥8%. In addition, patients with GA ≥22% and HbA1c ≥7.6% had significantly higher infectious or cardiovascular mortality rates. On the other hand, an inverse association was found between GA or HbA1c levels and cancer mortality. Patients with GA ≤15.8% had a higher risk of cancer mortality, especially those not using hypoglycemic agents (HR 1.63 (1.00-2.66)). Conclusions Target GA and HbA1c levels in dialysis patients may differ according to hypoglycemic agent use, nutritional status, and the presence of cancer. The levels may be higher in malnourished patients than in other patients, and a very low GA level in dialysis patients not taking hypoglycemic agents may be associated with a risk of cancer.
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