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Eur Heart J. 2018 Dec 18. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehy862. [Epub ahead of print]

Persistent arterial wall inflammation in patients with elevated lipoprotein(a) despite strong low-density lipoprotein cholesterol reduction by proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 antibody treatment.

Author information

Department of Vascular Medicine, Amsterdam University Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Clinical Development, Amgen Inc., One Amgen Center Drive Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, Amgen Inc., One Amgen Center Drive Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA.
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, TIMI Study Group, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave L. Levy Pl, New York, NY 10029, USA.



Subjects with lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] elevation have increased arterial wall inflammation and cardiovascular risk. In patients at increased cardiovascular risk, arterial wall inflammation is reduced following lipid-lowering therapy by statin treatment or lipoprotein apheresis. However, it is unknown whether lipid-lowering treatment in elevated Lp(a) subjects alters arterial wall inflammation. We evaluated whether evolocumab, which lowers both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and Lp(a), attenuates arterial wall inflammation in patients with elevated Lp(a).

Methods and results:

In this multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 129 patients {median [interquartile range (IQR)]: age 60.0 [54.0-67.0] years, Lp(a) 200.0 [155.5-301.5] nmol/L [80.0 (62.5-121.0) mg/dL]; mean [standard deviation (SD)] LDL-C 3.7 [1.0] mmol/L [144.0 (39.7) mg/dL]; National Cholesterol Education Program high risk, 25.6%} were randomized to monthly subcutaneous evolocumab 420 mg or placebo. Compared with placebo, evolocumab reduced LDL-C by 60.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 65.8-55.5] and Lp(a) by 13.9% (95% CI 19.3-8.5). Among evolocumab-treated patients, the Week 16 mean (SD) LDL-C level was 1.6 (0.7) mmol/L [60.1 (28.1) mg/dL], and the median (IQR) Lp(a) level was 188.0 (140.0-268.0) nmol/L [75.2 (56.0-107.2) mg/dL]. Arterial wall inflammation [most diseased segment target-to-background ratio (MDS TBR)] in the index vessel (left carotid, right carotid, or thoracic aorta) was assessed by 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography. Week 16 index vessel MDS TBR was not significantly altered with evolocumab (-8.3%) vs. placebo (-5.3%) [treatment difference -3.0% (95% CI -7.4% to 1.4%); P = 0.18].


Evolocumab treatment in patients with median baseline Lp(a) 200.0 nmol/L led to a large reduction in LDL-C and a small reduction in Lp(a), resulting in persistent elevated Lp(a) levels. The latter may have contributed to the unaltered arterial wall inflammation.


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