Cholesterol-lowering agents PCSK9 inhibitors today and tomorrow

Robert S. Rosenson, Robert A. Hegele, Wolfgang Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Loss-of-function variants in PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9) are associated with lower lifetime risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) events. Confirmation of these genetic observations in large, prospective clinical trials in participants with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease has provided guidance on risk stratification and enhanced our knowledge on hitherto unresolved and contentious issues concerning the efficacy and safety of markedly lowering LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol). PCSK9 has a broad repertoire of molecular effects. Furthermore, clinical trials with PCSK9 inhibitors demonstrate that reductions in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events are more effective in patients with recent myocardial infarction, multiple myocardial infarctions, multivessel coronary artery disease, and lower extremity arterial disease. The potent LDL-C lowering efficacy of PCSK9 inhibitors provides the opportunity for more aggressive LDL-lowering strategies in high-risk patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and supports the notion that there is no lower limit for LDL-C. Aggressive LDL-C lowering with fully human PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies has been associated by a safety profile superior to that of other classes of LDL-lowering agents. These clinical trials provide evidence that LDL lowering with PCSK9 inhibitors is an effective therapy for lowering cardiovascular events in high-risk patients with LDL-C levels ≥70 mg/dL on maximally tolerated oral therapies, including statins and ezetimibe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-385
Number of pages22
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Patients
  • Subtilisin


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