OBJECTIVE Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. There are also reports of an effect of these drugs in reducing inflammation through inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) that is an important mediator for several inflammatory processes. The present systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to evaluate the effect of DPP-4 inhibitors on circulating TNF-α levels in T2DM patients. METHODS A systematic review and a meta-analysis were undertaken on all controlled trials of DPP-4 inhibitors that included measurement of TNF-α. The search included PubMed-Medline, Scopus, ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar databases. Quantitative data synthesis was performed using a random-effects model, with standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) as summary statistics. Meta-regression and leave-one-out sensitivity analysis were performed to assess the modifiers of treatment response. RESULTS Eight eligible articles (6 with sitagliptin and 2 with vildagliptin) comprising 9 treatment arms were selected for this meta-analysis. Meta-analysis suggested a significant reduction of circulating TNF-α concentrations following treatment with DPP-4 inhibitors (SMD: -1.84, 95% CI: -2.88, -0.80, p=0.001). The effect size was robust in the sensitivity analysis and not mainly driven by a single study. A subgroup analysis did not suggest any significant difference between the TNF-α-lowering activity of sitagliptin (SMD: -1.49, 95% CI: -2.89, -0.10) and vildagliptin (SMD: -2.80, 95% CI: -4.98, -0.61) (p=0.326). CONCLUSION This meta-analysis of the 8 available controlled trials showed that DPP-4 inhibition in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus was associated with significant reductions in plasma TNF-α levels with no apparent difference between sitagliptin and vildagliptin.