Efficacy and Safety of PCSK9 Inhibition With Evolocumab in Reducing Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Metabolic Syndrome Receiving Statin Therapy: Secondary Analysis From the FOURIER Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Cardiol. 2021 Feb 1;6(2):139-147. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2020.3151.


Importance: The PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cardiovascular events in the FOURIER randomized clinical trial. Patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) are at increased cardiovascular risk.

Objective: To investigate outcomes with evolocumab in patients with and without MetS.

Design, setting, and participants: The FOURIER trial randomized patients worldwide with stable atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease receiving statin to evolocumab vs placebo with follow-up for a median of 2.2 years. Data were collected February 2013 to November 2016. For this prespecified analysis, patients with the requisite data were stratified based on the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III MetS criteria; in secondary analyses, patients were further substratified by diabetes at baseline. Analysis was intention to treat. Analysis began March 2018 and ended April 2020.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to evolocumab or placebo.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary end point was cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. The key secondary end point was cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.

Results: Of 27 342 patients (mean [SD] age, 63 [9] years; 20 623 men [75.4%]) included in this analysis, 16 361 (59.8%) with baseline MetS were, when compared with patients without MetS, at higher risk of cardiovascular events (adjusted hazard ratio [95% CI], 1.31 [1.18-1.46]; P < .001 for the primary and 1.38 [1.20-1.57]; P < .001 for the key secondary end point). Evolocumab reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol similarly in patients with MetS (median [interquartile range], 92 [79-109] mg/dL vs 30 [19-48] mg/dL; P < .001) and without MetS (median [interquartile range], 92 [81-108] mg/dL vs 29 [18-44] mg/dl; P < .001). For the primary end point, the hazard ratios (95% CI) with evolocumab vs placebo were 0.83 (0.76-0.91) and 0.89 (0.79-1.01) in patients with and without MetS (P for interaction = .39). For the key secondary end point, the corresponding hazard ratios (95% CIs) were 0.76 (0.68-0.86) and 0.86 (0.74-1.01) (P for interaction = .23), respectively. Evolocumab did not increase the risk of new-onset diabetes or other major safety outcomes including worsening glycemic control, compared with placebo in patients with MetS.

Conclusions and relevance: Patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and MetS have substantial residual risk of cardiovascular events despite statin therapy. Evolocumab significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cardiovascular risk in patients with MetS without increasing new-onset diabetes, worsening glycemic control, or other major safety events. These data suggest the addition of evolocumab to statin therapy in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and MetS is safe and efficacious to reduce residual cardiovascular risk.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01764633.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina, Unstable / epidemiology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Myocardial Revascularization
  • PCSK9 Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Stroke / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • PCSK9 Inhibitors
  • evolocumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01764633