Plozasiran (ARO-APOC3) for Severe Hypertriglyceridemia: The SHASTA-2 Randomized Clinical Trial

Daniel Gaudet, Denes Pall, Gerald F. Watts, Stephen J. Nicholls, Robert S. Rosenson, Karen Modesto, Javier San Martin, Jennifer Hellawell, Christie M. Ballantyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Importance: Severe hypertriglyceridemia (sHTG) confers increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and acute pancreatitis. Despite available treatments, persistent ASCVD and acute pancreatitis-associated morbidity from sHTG remains. Objective: To determine the tolerability, efficacy, and dose of plozasiran, an APOC3-targeted small interfering-RNA (siRNA) drug, for lowering triglyceride and apolipoprotein C3 (APOC3, regulator of triglyceride metabolism) levels and evaluate its effects on other lipid parameters in patients with sHTG. Design, Setting, and Participants: The Study to Evaluate ARO-APOC3 in Adults With Severe Hypertriglyceridemia (SHASTA-2) was a placebo-controlled, double-blind, dose-ranging, phase 2b randomized clinical trial enrolling adults with sHTG at 74 centers across the US, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada from May 31, 2021, to August 31, 2023. Eligible patients had fasting triglyceride levels in the range of 500 to 4000 mg/dL (to convert to millimoles per liter, multiply by 0.0113) while receiving stable lipid-lowering treatment. Interventions: Participants received 2 subcutaneous doses of plozasiran (10, 25, or 50 mg) or matched placebo on day 1 and at week 12 and were followed up through week 48. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary end point evaluated the placebo-subtracted difference in means of percentage triglyceride change at week 24. Mixed-model repeated measures were used for statistical modeling. Results: Of 229 patients, 226 (mean [SD] age, 55 [11] years; 176 male [78%]) were included in the primary analysis. Baseline mean (SD) triglyceride level was 897 (625) mg/dL and plasma APOC3 level was 32 (16) mg/dL. Plozasiran induced significant dose-dependent placebo-adjusted least squares (LS)-mean reductions in triglyceride levels (primary end point) of -57% (95% CI, -71.9% to -42.1%; P <.001), driven by placebo-adjusted reductions in APOC3 of -77% (95% CI, -89.1% to -65.8%; P <.001) at week 24 with the highest dose. Among plozasiran-treated patients, 144 of 159 (90.6%) achieved a triglyceride level of less than 500 mg/dL. Plozasiran was associated with dose-dependent increases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level, which was significant in patients receiving the highest dose (placebo-adjusted LS-mean increase 60% (95% CI, 31%-89%; P <.001). However, apolipoprotein B (ApoB) levels did not increase, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels decreased significantly at all doses, with a placebo-adjusted change of -20% at the highest dose. There were also significant durable reductions in remnant cholesterol and ApoB48 as well as increases in HDL-C level through week 48. Adverse event rates were similar in plozasiran-treated patients vs placebo. Serious adverse events were mild to moderate, not considered treatment related, and none led to discontinuation or death. Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial of patients with sHTG, plozasiran decreased triglyceride levels, which fell below the 500 mg/dL threshold of acute pancreatitis risk in most participants. Other triglyceride-related lipoprotein parameters improved. An increase in LDL-C level was observed but with no change in ApoB level and a decrease in non-HDL-C level. The safety profile was generally favorable at all doses. Additional studies will be required to determine whether plozasiran favorably modulates the risk of sHTG-associated complications. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT04720534.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJAMA Cardiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


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