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Circulation. 2002 Apr 16;105(15):1776-9.

Plasma homocysteine concentration, statin therapy, and the risk of first acute coronary events.

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  • 1Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass 02215, USA.



Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with increased coronary risk, and it has been suggested that homocysteine screening may provide a method to identify high-risk patients for aggressive primary prevention.


Homocysteine was measured at baseline and after 1 year among 5569 participants in the Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study (AFCAPS/TexCAPS), a randomized trial of lovastatin in the primary prevention of acute coronary events. The effects of homocysteine, LDL cholesterol, and lovastatin on risk were assessed over 5.2 years of trial follow-up. Median baseline homocysteine levels were significantly higher among study participants who subsequently had acute coronary events compared with those who did not (12.1 versus 10.9 micro;mol/L, P<0.001). The relative risks of future events from lowest (referent) to highest quartile of homocysteine were 1.0, 1.6, 1.6, and 2.2 (P<0.001). These effects were similar among those allocated to lovastatin and those allocated to placebo and were modestly attenuated after adjustment for other traditional risk factors. As predicted, the subgroup of participants with elevated LDL cholesterol and elevated homocysteine levels were at high risk and benefited greatly from statin therapy (relative risk, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.75; number needed to treat=26). However, in contrast to findings in this trial for C-reactive protein, homocysteine evaluation did not help to define low LDL subgroups with different responses to lovastatin therapy.


Although homocysteine predicted future coronary events in AFCAPS/TexCAPS, we found little evidence that homocysteine evaluation provided an improved method to target statin therapy among those with low-to-normal LDL cholesterol levels.

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