Lipoprotein(a), C-Reactive Protein, and Cardiovascular Risk in Primary and Secondary Prevention Populations

JAMA Cardiol. 2024 Apr 1;9(4):385-391. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2023.5605.


Importance: Elevated lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]) is a putative causal risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). There are conflicting data as to whether Lp(a) may increase cardiovascular risk only in the presence of concomitant inflammation.

Objective: To investigate whether Lp(a) is associated with cardiovascular risk independent of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in both primary and secondary prevention populations.

Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study uses data from 3 distinct cohorts, 1 population-based cohort and 2 randomized clinical trials. Participants included individuals from the UK Biobank (data from 2006-2010) without prevalent ASCVD, participants in the FOURIER (TIMI 59) trial (data from 2013-2017) who had baseline Lp(a) and hs-CRP data, and participants in the SAVOR-TIMI 53 trial (data from 2010-2013) who had prevalent ASCVD and baseline values for Lp(a) and hs-CRP. The data analysis took place from November 2022 to November 2023.

Exposure: Baseline plasma Lp(a), considered either as a continuous variable or dichotomized at 125 nmol/L.

Main outcomes and measures: Risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) (composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction [MI], or ischemic stroke), the individual MACE components, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Results: Among 357 220 individuals in the UK Biobank without prevalent ASCVD, 232 699 (65%) had low hs-CRP (<2 mg/L), and 124 521 (35%) had high hs-CRP (≥2 mg/L) values. In a Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for ASCVD risk factors, higher Lp(a) was associated with increased cardiovascular risk regardless of baseline hs-CRP value for MACE (hs-CRP ≥2 mg/L: hazard ratio [HR] per 50-nmol/L higher Lp[a], 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04-1.07; P < .001; for hs-CRP <2 mg/L: HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04-1.07; P < .001; P = .80 for interaction), as well as MI, ischemic stroke, and PAD individually. Among 34 020 individuals in the FOURIER and SAVOR trials with baseline cardiometabolic disease, there were 17 643 (52%) with low and 16 377 (48%) with high baseline hs-CRP values. In Cox proportional hazard models using aggregated data from FOURIER and SAVOR, higher baseline Lp(a) was associated with increased cardiovascular risk regardless of baseline hs-CRP for MACE (hs-CRP ≥2 mg/L: HR per 50-nmol/L higher Lp[a], 1.02; 95% CI, 1.00-1.05; P = .04; hs-CRP <2 mg/L: HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-1.08; P < .001; P = .16 for interaction), MI, and PAD.

Conclusions and relevance: In this study, higher levels of Lp(a) were associated with MACE, MI, and PAD in both primary and secondary prevention populations regardless of baseline hs-CRP value.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • C-Reactive Protein* / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke
  • Lipoprotein(a)* / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention


  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Lipoprotein(a)