january 2020 • New England Journal of Medicine

Lipoprotein(a) Reduction in Persons with Cardiovascular Disease

Tsimikas S., Karwatowska-Prokopczuk E., Gouni-Berthold I. et al.

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1905239


BACKGROUND: Lipoprotein(a) levels are genetically determined and, when elevated, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and aortic stenosis. There are no approved pharmacologic therapies to lower lipoprotein(a) levels. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging trial involving 286 patients with established cardiovascular disease and screening lipoprotein(a) levels of at least 60 mg per deciliter (150 nmol per liter). Patients received the hepatocyte-directed antisense oligonucleotide AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx, referred to here as APO(a)-LRx (20, 40, or 60 mg every 4 weeks; 20 mg every 2 weeks; or 20 mg every week), or saline placebo subcutaneously for 6 to 12 months. The lipoprotein(a) level was measured with an isoform-independent assay. The primary end point was the percent change in lipoprotein(a) level from baseline to month 6 of exposure (week 25 in the groups that received monthly doses and week 27 in the groups that received more frequent doses). RESULTS: The median baseline lipoprotein(a) levels in the six groups ranged from 204.5 to 246.6 nmol per liter. Administration of APO(a)-LRx resulted in dose-dependent decreases in lipoprotein(a) levels, with mean percent decreases of 35% at a dose of 20 mg every 4 weeks, 56% at 40 mg every 4 weeks, 58% at 20 mg every 2 weeks, 72% at 60 mg every 4 weeks, and 80% at 20 mg every week, as compared with 6% with placebo (P values for the comparison with placebo ranged from 0.003 to <0.001). There were no significant differences between any APO(a)-LRx dose and placebo with respect to platelet counts, liver and renal measures, or influenza-like symptoms. The most common adverse events were injection-site reactions. CONCLUSIONS: APO(a)-LRx reduced lipoprotein(a) levels in a dose-dependent manner in patients who had elevated lipoprotein(a) levels and established cardiovascular disease.