Effect of intensive statin therapy on regression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with acute coronary syndrome: a multicenter randomized trial evaluated by volumetric intravascular ultrasound using pitavastatin versus atorvastatin (JAPAN-ACS [Japan assessment of pitavastatin and atorvastatin in acute coronary syndrome] study)

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009 Jul 21;54(4):293-302. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2009.04.033.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the regressive effects of aggressive lipid-lowering therapy with atorvastatin on coronary plaque volume (PV) in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are generalized for other statins in multicenter setting.

Background: A previous single-center study reported beneficial regressive effects of atorvastatin in patients with ACS on PV of the nonculprit site by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) evaluation. The effect of statins other than atorvastatin on PV has not been evaluated in the setting of ACS.

Methods: The JAPAN-ACS (Japan Assessment of Pitavastatin and Atorvastatin in Acute Coronary Syndrome) study was a prospective, randomized, open-label, parallel group study with blind end point evaluation conducted at 33 centers in Japan. A total of 307 patients with ACS undergoing IVUS-guided percutaneous coronary intervention were randomized, and 252 patients had evaluable IVUS examinations at baseline and 8 to 12 months' follow-up. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 4 mg/day of pitavastatin or 20 mg/day of atorvastatin. The primary end point was the percentage change in nonculprit coronary PV.

Results: The mean percentage change in PV was -16.9 +/- 13.9% and -18.1 +/- 14.2% (p = 0.5) in the pitavastatin and atorvastatin groups, respectively, which was associated with negative vessel remodeling. The upper limit of 95% confidence interval of the mean difference in percentage change in PV between the 2 groups (1.11%, 95% confidence interval: -2.27 to 4.48) did not exceed the pre-defined noninferiority margin of 5%.

Conclusions: The administration of pitavastatin or atorvastatin in patients with ACS equivalently resulted in significant regression of coronary PV (Japan Assessment of Pitavastatin and Atorvastatin in Acute Coronary Syndrome; NCT00242944).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / pathology
  • Aged
  • Atorvastatin
  • Coronary Artery Disease / drug therapy*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / pathology
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Female
  • Heptanoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrroles / administration & dosage*
  • Quinolines / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional


  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Quinolines
  • Atorvastatin
  • pitavastatin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00242944