Population and assay thresholds for the predictive value of lipoprotein (a) for coronary artery disease: the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study

J Lipid Res. 2016 Apr;57(4):697-705. doi: 10.1194/jlr.P066258. Epub 2016 Jan 31.


Variable agreement exists between different lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] measurement methods, but their clinical relevance remains unclear. The predictive value of Lp(a) measured by two different assays [Randox and University of California, San Diego (UCSD)] was determined in 623 coronary artery disease (CAD) cases and 948 controls in a case-control study within the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study. Participants were divided into sex-specific quintiles, and by Lp(a) <50 versus ∼50 mg/dl, which represents the 80th percentile in northern European subjects. Randox and UCSD Lp(a) levels were strongly correlated; Spearman's correlation coefficients for men, women, and sexes combined were 0.905, 0.915, and 0.909, respectively (P< 0.001 for each). The >80th percentile cutoff values, however, were 36 mg/dl and 24 mg/dl for the Randox and UCSD assays, respectively. Despite this, Lp(a) levels were significantly associated with CAD risk, with odds ratios of 2.18 (1.58-3.01) and 2.35 (1.70-3.26) for people in the top versus bottom Lp(a) quintile for the Randox and UCSD assays, respectively. This study demonstrates that CAD risk is present at lower Lp(a) levels than the currently suggested optimal Lp(a) level of <50 mg/dl. Appropriate thresholds may need to be population and assay specific until Lp(a) assays are standardized and Lp(a) thresholds are evaluated broadly across all populations at risk for CVD and aortic stenosis.

Keywords: aortic stenosis; atherosclerosis; risk factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / standards*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoprotein(a) / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values


  • Lipoprotein(a)