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Clin Chem. 2017 Nov;63(11):1705-1713. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2016.270751. Epub 2017 Sep 13.

Evaluation of Lipoprotein(a) Electrophoretic and Immunoassay Methods in Discriminating Risk of Calcific Aortic Valve Disease and Incident Coronary Heart Disease: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Department of Pathology, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA.
Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN;



A number of lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] analytical techniques are available that quantify distinct particle components, yet their clinical efficacy has not been comprehensively evaluated. This study determined whether Lp(a) mass [Lp(a)-M], Lp(a) cholesterol content [Lp(a)-C], and particle concentration [Lp(a)-P] differentially discriminated risk of calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) or incident coronary heart disease (CHD) among 4679 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).


Lp(a)-M, Lp(a)-C, and Lp(a)-P were measured in individuals without clinical evidence of CHD at baseline. Relative risk regression and Cox proportional analysis determined associations between Lp(a) and the presence of CAVD or 12-year risk of CHD, respectively. To control for the relatively high lower limits of quantification for Lp(a)-C and Lp(a)-P assays, the upper 25th and 15th percentiles were selected as analytical cutoff points.


Regardless of method or analytical cutoff, high Lp(a) concentrations were significantly associated with CAVD and CHD in MESA participants following adjustment for typical cardiovascular risk factors. Stratifying by race/ethnicity rendered most associations nonsignificant after correction for multiple comparisons, but Lp(a) remained associated with CAVD in whites irrespective of method (all P < 0.0001).


Associations of Lp(a)-C, Lp(a)-P, and Lp(a)-M with CAVD or incident CHD were similar in this entire MESA sample using a dichotomized statistical approach. However, the high lower limits of quantification and imprecision of the Lp(a)-C and Lp(a)-P assays limited their usefulness in our analyses and would likely do so in research and clinical settings.

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