Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is a highly heritable cardiovascular risk factor. Although discovered more than 50 years ago, Lp(a) has recently re-emerged as a major focus in the fields of lipidology and preventive cardiology owing to findings from genetic studies and the possibility of lowering elevated plasma concentrations with new antisense therapy. Data from genetic, epidemiological and clinical studies have provided compelling evidence establishing Lp(a) as a causal risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, major gaps in knowledge remain and the identification of the mechanistic processes governing both Lp(a) pathobiology and metabolism are an ongoing challenge. Furthermore, the complex structure of Lp(a) presents a major obstacle to the accurate quantification of plasma concentrations, and a universally accepted and standardized approach for measuring Lp(a) is required. Significant progress has been made in the development of novel therapeutics for selectively lowering Lp(a). However, before these therapies can be widely implemented further investigations are required to assess their efficacy, safety, and cost-efficiency in the prevention of cardiovascular events. We review recent advances in molecular and biochemical aspects, epidemiology, and pathobiology of Lp(a), and provide a contemporary update on the significance of Lp(a) in clinical medicine. "Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be." (Khalil Gibran).
Keywords: Clinical medicine; Epidemiology; Genetics; Lipoprotein(a); Metabolism; Pathobiology.
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