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Lipoprotein(a) in Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

Current recommendations for screening and managing elevated lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), are described in a review article with emphasis on the effects of currently available and emerging lipid-lowering therapies.

Lp(a) “is structurally like low-density lipoprotein (LDL) but differs in that it contains glycoprotein apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)],” the authors write. “Due to its prothrombotic and proinflammatory properties, Lp(a) is an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and aortic valve stenosis. Lp(a) levels are genetically determined, and it is estimated that 20-25% of the global population has an Lp(a) level ≥50 mg/dL (or ≥125 nmol/L). Diet and lifestyle interventions have little to no effect on Lp(a) levels. Lipoprotein apheresis is the only approved treatment for elevated Lp(a) but is time intensive for the patient and only modestly effective.”

“Although statins are first-line agents to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, they modestly increase Lp(a) levels and have not been shown to change Lp(a)-mediated ASCVD risk,” the authors write. “Alirocumab, evolocumab, and inclisiran reduce Lp(a) levels by 20-25%, yet the clinical implications of this reduction for Lp(a)-mediated ASCVD risk are uncertain. Niacin also lowers Lp(a) levels; however, its effectiveness in mitigating Lp(a)-mediated ASCVD risk remains unclear, and its side effects have limited its utilization. Recommendations for when to screen and how to manage individuals with elevated Lp(a) vary widely between national and international guidelines and scientific statements. Three investigational compounds targeting Lp(a), including small interfering RNA (siRNA) agents (olpasiran, SLN360) and an antisense oligonucleotide (pelacarsen), are in various stages of development. These compounds block the translation of messenger RNA (mRNA) into apo(a), a key structural component of Lp(a), thereby substantially reducing Lp(a) synthesis in the liver.”

Source: Pharmacotherapy