Background: Whether apolipoprotein B (apoB) or non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) adds to the predictive power of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) for cardiovascular risk remains controversial.
Methods and results: This meta-analysis is based on all the published epidemiological studies that contained estimates of the relative risks of non-HDL-C and apoB of fatal or nonfatal ischemic cardiovascular events. Twelve independent reports, including 233 455 subjects and 22 950 events, were analyzed. All published risk estimates were converted to standardized relative risk ratios (RRRs) and analyzed by quantitative meta-analysis using a random-effects model. Whether analyzed individually or in head-to-head comparisons, apoB was the most potent marker of cardiovascular risk (RRR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.35 to 1.51), LDL-C was the least (RRR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.18 to 1.33), and non-HDL-C was intermediate (RRR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.24 to 1.44). The overall comparisons of the within-study differences showed that apoB RRR was 5.7%>non-HDL-C (P<0.001) and 12.0%>LDL-C (P<0.0001) and that non-HDL-C RRR was 5.0%>LDL-C (P=0.017). Only HDL-C accounted for any substantial portion of the variance of the results among the studies. We calculated the number of clinical events prevented by a high-risk treatment regimen of all those >70th percentile of the US adult population using each of the 3 markers. Over a 10-year period, a non-HDL-C strategy would prevent 300 000 more events than an LDL-C strategy, whereas an apoB strategy would prevent 500 000 more events than a non-HDL-C strategy.
Conclusions: These results further validate the value of apoB in clinical care.