BACKGROUND Serum amyloid A (SAA) induces inflammation and apoptosis in kidney cells and is found to be causing the pathologic changes that are associated with diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Higher serum SAA concentrations were previously associated with increased risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and death in persons with type 2 diabetes and advanced DKD. We explored the prognostic value of SAA in American Indians with type 2 diabetes without DKD or with early DKD. METHODS SAA concentration was measured in serum samples obtained at the start of follow-up. Multivariate proportional hazards models were employed to examine the magnitude of the risk of ESRD or death across tertiles of SAA concentration after adjustment for traditional risk factors. The C statistic was used to assess the additional predictive value of SAA relative to traditional risk factors. RESULTS Of 256 participants (mean ± SD glomerular filtration rate [iothalamate] = 148 ± 45 mL/min, and median [interquartile range] urine albumin/creatinine = 39 [14-221] mg/g), 76 developed ESRD and 125 died during a median follow-up period of 15.2 and 15.7 years, respectively. After multivariable proportional hazards regression, participants in the 2 highest SAA tertiles together exhibited a 53% lower risk of ESRD (hazard ratio [HR] 0.47, 95% CI 0.29-0.78), and a 30% lower risk of death (HR 0.70, 95% CI 0.48-1.02), compared with participants in the lowest SAA tertile, although the lower risk of death was not statistically significant. Addition of SAA to the ESRD model increased the C statistic from 0.814 to 0.815 (p = 0.005). CONCLUSIONS Higher circulating SAA concentration is associated with a reduced risk of ESRD in American Indians with type 2 diabetes.