Mipomersen and other therapies for the treatment of severe familial hypercholesterolemia

Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2012:8:651-9. doi: 10.2147/VHRM.S28581. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant condition with a population prevalence of one in 300-500 (heterozygous) that is characterized by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, tendon xanthomata, and premature atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (CHD). FH is caused mainly by mutations in the LDLR gene. However, mutations in other genes including APOB and PCSK9, can give rise to a similar phenotype. Homozygous FH with an estimated prevalence of one in a million is associated with severe hypercholesterolemia with accelerated atherosclerotic CHD in childhood and without treatment, death usually occurs before the age of 30 years. Current approaches for the treatment of homozygous FH include statin-based lipid-lowering therapies and LDL apheresis. Mipomersen is a second-generation antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeted to human apolipoprotein B (apoB)-100. This review provides an overview of the pathophysiology and current treatment options for familial hypercholesterolemia and describes novel therapeutic strategies focusing on mipomersen, an antisense apoB synthesis inhibitor. Mipomersen is distributed mainly to the liver where it silences apoB mRNA, thereby reducing hepatic apoB-100 and giving rise to reductions in plasma total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and apoB concentrations in a dose-and time-dependent manner. Mipomersen has been shown to decrease apoB, LDL-cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) in patients with heterozygous and homozygous FH on maximally tolerated lipid-lowering therapy. The short-term efficacy and safety of mipomersen has been established, however, injection site reactions are common and concern exists regarding the long-term potential for hepatic steatosis with this ASO. In summary, mipomersen given alone or in combination with standard lipid-lowering medications shows promise as an adjunct therapy in patients with homozygous or refractory heterozygous FH at high risk of atherosclerotic CHD, who are not at target or are intolerant of statins.

Keywords: LDL-cholesterol; antisense oligonucleotide; apolipoprotein B; familial hypercholesterolemia; metabolism; mipomersen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apolipoproteins B / biosynthesis
  • Apolipoproteins B / genetics
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / blood
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / diagnosis
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / drug therapy*
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / epidemiology
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / genetics
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Antisense / adverse effects
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use*
  • Oligonucleotides / adverse effects
  • Oligonucleotides / therapeutic use*
  • Prevalence
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Antisense
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Cholesterol
  • mipomersen