Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease

BACKGROUND

Evolocumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by approximately 60%. Whether it prevents cardiovascular events is uncertain.

METHODS

We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 27,564 patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and LDL cholesterol levels of 70 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) or higher who were receiving statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive evolocumab (either 140 mg every 2 weeks or 420 mg monthly) or matching placebo as subcutaneous injections. The primary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. The key secondary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke. The median duration of follow-up was 2.2 years.

RESULTS

At 48 weeks, the least-squares mean percentage reduction in LDL cholesterol levels with evolocumab, as compared with placebo, was 59%, from a median baseline value of 92 mg per deciliter (2.4 mmol per liter) to 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) (P<0.001). Relative to placebo, evolocumab treatment significantly reduced the risk of the primary end point (1344 patients [9.8%] vs. 1563 patients [11.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.92; P<0.001) and the key secondary end point (816 [5.9%] vs. 1013 [7.4%]; hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.88; P<0.001). The results were consistent across key subgroups, including the subgroup of patients in the lowest quartile for baseline LDL cholesterol levels (median, 74 mg per deciliter [1.9 mmol per liter]). There was no significant difference between the study groups with regard to adverse events (including new-onset diabetes and neurocognitive events), with the exception of injection-site reactions, which were more common with evolocumab (2.1% vs. 1.6%).

CONCLUSIONS

In our trial, inhibition of PCSK9 with evolocumab on a background of statin therapy lowered LDL cholesterol levels to a median of 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) and reduced the risk of cardiovascular events. These findings show that patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease benefit from lowering of LDL cholesterol levels below current targets. (Funded by Amgen; FOURIER ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01764633.)

Cardiovascular Efficacy and Safety of Bococizumab in High-Risk Patients

BACKGROUND

Bococizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and reduces levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. We sought to evaluate the efficacy of bococizumab in patients at high cardiovascular risk.

METHODS

In two parallel, multinational trials with different entry criteria for LDL cholesterol levels, we randomly assigned the 27,438 patients in the combined trials to receive bococizumab (at a dose of 150 mg) subcutaneously every 2 weeks or placebo. The primary end point was nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina requiring urgent revascularization, or cardiovascular death; 93% of the patients were receiving statin therapy at baseline. The trials were stopped early after the sponsor elected to discontinue the development of bococizumab owing in part to the development of high rates of antidrug antibodies, as seen in data from other studies in the program. The median follow-up was 10 months.

RESULTS

At 14 weeks, patients in the combined trials had a mean change from baseline in LDL cholesterol levels of −56.0% in the bococizumab group and +2.9% in the placebo group, for a between-group difference of –59.0 percentage points (P<0.001) and a median reduction from baseline of 64.2% (P<0.001). In the lower-risk, shorter-duration trial (in which the patients had a baseline LDL cholesterol level of ≥70 mg per deciliter [1.8 mmol per liter] and the median follow-up was 7 months), major cardiovascular events occurred in 173 patients each in the bococizumab group and the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80 to 1.22; P=0.94). In the higher-risk, longer-duration trial (in which the patients had a baseline LDL cholesterol level of ≥100 mg per deciliter [2.6 mmol per liter] and the median follow-up was 12 months), major cardiovascular events occurred in 179 and 224 patients, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.97; P=0.02). The hazard ratio for the primary end point in the combined trials was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.76 to 1.02; P=0.08). Injection-site reactions were more common in the bococizumab group than in the placebo group (10.4% vs. 1.3%, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In two randomized trials comparing the PCSK9 inhibitor bococizumab with placebo, bococizumab had no benefit with respect to major adverse cardiovascular events in the trial involving lower-risk patients but did have a significant benefit in the trial involving higher-risk patients. (Funded by Pfizer; SPIRE-1 and SPIRE-2 ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01975376 and NCT01975389.)

N Engl J Med 2017; 376:1527-1539

Lipid-Reduction Variability and Antidrug-Antibody Formation with Bococizumab

BACKGROUND

Bococizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9 (PCSK9), reduces levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. However, the variability and durability of this effect are uncertain.

METHODS

We conducted six parallel, multinational lipid-lowering trials enrolling 4300 patients with hyperlipidemia who were randomly assigned to receive 150 mg of bococizumab or placebo subcutaneously every 2 weeks and who were followed for up to 12 months; 96% were receiving statin therapy at the time of enrollment. The patients were assessed for lipid changes over time, stratified according to the presence or absence of antidrug antibodies detected during the treatment period.

RESULTS

At 12 weeks, patients who received bococizumab had a reduction of 54.2% in the LDL cholesterol level from baseline, as compared with an increase of 1.0% among those who received placebo (absolute between-group difference, −55.2 percentage points). Significant between-group differences were also observed in total cholesterol, non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and lipoprotein(a) (P<0.001 for all comparisons). However, high-titer antidrug antibodies developed in a substantial proportion of the patients who received bococizumab, which markedly diminished the magnitude and durability of the reduction in LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, among patients with no antidrug antibodies, there was wide variability in the reduction in LDL cholesterol levels at both 12 weeks and 52 weeks. Major cardiovascular events occurred in 57 patients (2.5%) who received bococizumab and in 55 (2.7%) who received placebo (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.66 to 1.39; P=0.83). The most common adverse event among patients who received bococizumab was injection-site reaction (12.7 per 100 person-years).

CONCLUSIONS

In six multinational trials evaluating bococizumab, antidrug antibodies developed in a large proportion of the patients and significantly attenuated the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels. Wide variation in the relative reduction in cholesterol levels was also observed among patients in whom antidrug antibodies did not develop. (Funded by Pfizer; SPIRE ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01968954, NCT01968967, NCT01968980, NCT02100514, NCT02135029, and NCT02458287.)

Inclisiran in Patients at High Cardiovascular Risk with Elevated LDL Cholesterol

BACKGROUND

In a previous study, a single injection of inclisiran, a chemically synthesized small interfering RNA designed to target PCSK9 messenger RNA, was found to produce sustained reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels over the course of 84 days in healthy volunteers.

METHODS

We conducted a phase 2, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multiple-ascending-dose trial of inclisiran administered as a subcutaneous injection in patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease who had elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Patients were randomly assigned to receive a single dose of placebo or 200, 300, or 500 mg of inclisiran or two doses (at days 1 and 90) of placebo or 100, 200, or 300 mg of inclisiran. The primary end point was the change from baseline in LDL cholesterol level at 180 days. Safety data were available through day 210, and data on LDL cholesterol and proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9 (PCSK9) levels were available through day 240.

RESULTS

A total of 501 patients underwent randomization. Patients who received inclisiran had dose-dependent reductions in PCSK9 and LDL cholesterol levels. At day 180, the least-squares mean reductions in LDL cholesterol levels were 27.9 to 41.9% after a single dose of inclisiran and 35.5 to 52.6% after two doses (P<0.001 for all comparisons vs. placebo). The two-dose 300-mg inclisiran regimen produced the greatest reduction in LDL cholesterol levels: 48% of the patients who received the regimen had an LDL cholesterol level below 50 mg per deciliter (1.3 mmol per liter) at day 180. At day 240, PCSK9 and LDL cholesterol levels remained significantly lower than at baseline in association with all inclisiran regimens. Serious adverse events occurred in 11% of the patients who received inclisiran and in 8% of the patients who received placebo. Injection-site reactions occurred in 5% of the patients who received injections of inclisiran.

CONCLUSIONS

In our trial, inclisiran was found to lower PCSK9 and LDL cholesterol levels among patients at high cardiovascular risk who had elevated LDL cholesterol levels. (Funded by the Medicines Company; ORION-1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02597127.)