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Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):371-6. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.07.019. Epub 2008 Jul 26.

Polymorphism in the apolipoprotein(a) gene, plasma lipoprotein(a), cardiovascular disease, and low-dose aspirin therapy.

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  • 1Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, United States.



A minor allele variant (rs3798220) of apolipoprotein(a) has been reported to be associated with elevated plasma lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] and increased cardiovascular risk. We investigated whether this allele was associated with elevated Lp(a) and cardiovascular risk in the Women's Health Study, a randomized trial of low-dose aspirin, and whether aspirin reduced cardiovascular risk in minor allele carriers.


Genotypes of rs3798220 were determined for 25,131 initially healthy Caucasian participants. Median Lp(a) levels at baseline were 10.0, 79.5, and 153.9mg/dL for major allele homozygotes, heterozygotes, and minor allele homozygotes, respectively (P<0.0001). During the 9.9 years of follow-up, minor allele carriers (3.7%) in the placebo group had twofold higher risk of major cardiovascular events than non-carriers (age-adjusted hazard ratio (HR)=2.21, 95% CI: 1.39-3.52). Among carriers, risk was reduced more than twofold by aspirin: for aspirin compared with placebo the age-adjusted HR was 0.44 (95% CI: 0.20-0.94); risk was not significantly reduced among non-carriers (age-adjusted HR=0.91, 95% CI: 0.77-1.08). This interaction between carrier status and aspirin allocation was significant (P=0.048).


In the Women's Health Study, carriers of an apolipoprotein(a) variant had elevated Lp(a), doubled cardiovascular risk, and appeared to benefit more from aspirin than non-carriers.

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