Impact of baseline lipoprotein and C-reactive protein levels on coronary atheroma regression following high-intensity statin therapy

Am J Cardiol. 2014 Nov 15;114(10):1465-72. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Aug 27.


Guidelines now recommend high-intensity statin therapy in all patients with proven atherosclerotic disease. Yet the impact of baseline lipoprotein and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels on measures of disease regression to this therapy are unknown. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that high-intensity statin therapy causes equivalent degrees of coronary atheroma regression irrespective of baseline lipoprotein and CRP levels. In 8 prospective randomized trials using serial coronary intravascular ultrasound, 1,881 patients who maintained or switched to 18- to 24 months of high-intensity statin therapy (rosuvastatin 40 mg or atorvastatin 80 mg) were stratified according to baseline lipoprotein and CRP levels. Changes in coronary percentage atheroma volume (PAV) and total atheroma volume (TAV) were evaluated. High-intensity statin therapy produced significant reductions from baseline in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 38.4%, non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by 33.6%, triglycerides by 13.1%, and CRP by 33.3%, while increasing HDL cholesterol by 11.7% (p <0.001 for all). This was associated with regression of PAV by 0.7% and of TAV by 8.2 mm(3) (p <0.001 for both). No significant differences of changes in PAV and TAV were observed across baseline quintiles of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, or CRP. Moreover, across all measured lipoproteins and CRP, most patients demonstrated plaque regression (defined as any change from baseline in PAV or TAV <0). In conclusion, high-intensity statin therapy attenuated the natural progression of coronary atherosclerosis in all strata of patients with coronary artery disease irrespective of baseline lipoprotein or CRP levels. These findings provide support for the latest United States guideline recommendations for the broad use of high-intensity statin therapy in all patients with atherosclerosis, regardless of baseline lipid status.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / drug therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / blood*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / diagnosis
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional


  • Biomarkers
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Lipoproteins
  • C-Reactive Protein