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Circulation. 2018 Aug 21;138(8):770-781. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032318.

Triglyceride-Rich Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Risk of Cardiovascular Events Among Patients Receiving Statin Therapy in the TNT Trial.

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Imperial Centre for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, United Kingdom (A.J.V.-V., K.K.R.).
Pfizer, New York, NY (R.F., S.M.).
Department of Cardiology (S.M.B.).
Department of Vascular Medicine (G.K.H., J.J.K.), Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales Australia, Sydney (P.B.).
Division of Cardiology, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, CA (D.D.W.).



Mendelian randomization data suggest that the genetic determinants of lifetime higher triglyceride-rich lipoprotein-cholesterol (TRL-C) are causally related to cardiovascular disease and therefore a potential therapeutic target. The relevance of TRL-C among patients receiving statins is unknown. We assessed the relationship between TRL-C and cardiovascular risk, and whether this risk was modifiable among patients receiving statins in the TNT trial (Treating to New Targets).


Patients with coronary heart disease and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) 130 to 250 mg/dL entered an 8-week run-in phase with atorvastatin 10 mg/d (ATV10). After this period, participants with LDL-C <130 mg/dL entered the randomized phase with ATV10 (n=5006) versus atorvastatin 80 mg/d (ATV80, n=4995). The primary end point was coronary heart disease death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, or stroke (major adverse cardiovascular events [MACE]). TRL-C was calculated as total cholesterol minus high-density lipoprotein cholesterol minus LDL-C. The effect of atorvastatin on TRL-C was assessed during the run-in phase (ATV10) and randomized phase (ATV80 versus ATV10). The risk of MACE was assessed across quintiles (Q) of baseline TRL-C (and, for comparison, by baseline triglycerides and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) during the randomized period. Last, the association between TRL-C changes with atorvastatin and cardiovascular risk was assessed by multivariate Cox regression.


ATV10 reduced TRL-C 10.7% from an initial TRL-C of 33.9±16.6 mg/dL. ATV80 led to an additional 15.4% reduction. Cardiovascular risk factors positively correlated with TRL-C. Among patients receiving ATV10, higher TRL-C was associated with higher 5-year MACE rates (Q1=9.7%, Q5=13.8%; hazard ratio Q5-versus-Q1, 1.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-1.92; P-trend<0.0001). ATV80 (versus ATV10) did not significantly alter the risk of MACE in Q1-Q2, but significantly reduced risk in Q3-Q5 (relative risk reduction, 29%-41%; all P<0.0250), with evidence of effect modification ( P-homogeneity=0.0053); results were consistent for triglycerides ( P-homogeneity=0.0101) and directionally similar for non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ( P-homogeneity=0.1387). Last, in adjusted analyses, a 1 SD percentage reduction in TRL-C with atorvastatin resulted in a significant lower risk of MACE (hazard ratio, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.86-1.00; P=0.0482) independent of the reduction in LDL-C and of similar magnitude to that per 1 SD lowering in LDL-C (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.83-0.95; P=0.0008).


The present post hoc analysis from TNT shows that increased TRL-C levels are associated with an increased cardiovascular risk and provides evidence for the cardiovascular benefit of lipid lowering with statins among patients who have coronary heart disease with high TRL-C.


URL: . Unique identifier: NCT00327691.


atorvastatin calcium; cardiovascular diseases; cholesterol, LDL; lipids; lipoproteins; remnant-like particle cholesterol; triglycerides

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