PCSK9-directed therapies: an update

Curr Opin Lipidol. 2024 Jun 1;35(3):117-125. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000919. Epub 2024 Jan 19.


Purpose of review: Two large cardiovascular outcomes trials of monoclonal antibodies against proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) demonstrated that therapeutic inhibition of extracellular PCSK9 markedly reduces LDL cholesterol concentration and cardiovascular risk. Several novel strategies to inhibit PCSK9 function are in development. Different mechanisms of action may determine specific properties with potential relevance for patient care.

Recent findings: For the monoclonal antibodies evolocumab und alirocumab as first-generation PCSK9 inhibitors, follow-up data of up to 8 years of exposure complement the information on efficacy and safety available from outcome trials. For the small-interfering RNA inclisiran as second-generation PCSK9 inhibitor, several phase III trials have been published and a cardiovascular outcome trial has completed recruitment and is ongoing. Third-generation PCSK9 inhibitors encompass, among others, orally available drugs such as MK-0616 and the fusion protein lerodalcibep. Additional strategies to inhibit PCSK9 include vaccination and gene editing.

Summary: Long-term inhibition of PCSK9 with monoclonal antibodies is safe and conveys sustained cardiovascular benefit. Novel strategies to inhibit PCSK9 function such as orally available drugs, RNA targeting, and one-time treatment with gene editing may further enhance the therapeutic armamentarium and enable novel preventive strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • PCSK9 Inhibitors*
  • Proprotein Convertase 9* / genetics
  • Proprotein Convertase 9* / immunology
  • Proprotein Convertase 9* / metabolism


  • PCSK9 Inhibitors
  • Proprotein Convertase 9
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • PCSK9 protein, human