Acquired low cholesterol: diagnosis and relevance to safety of low LDL therapeutic targets

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Acquired hypocholesterolaemia occurs more commonly than inherited hypocholesterolaemia but has received little attention in the literature. In this review, we discuss the causes and underlying mechanisms of acquired hypocholesterolaemia and its relevance to safety of therapeutically induced decreased LDL cholesterol levels.

Recent findings

Hypocholesterolaemia is increasingly identified as cholesterol testing becomes more widespread in the assessment of cardiovascular risk. Lower therapeutic targets for LDL cholesterol are also being achieved more regularly with the introduction of more intensive cholesterol-lowering regimens. Acquired hypocholesterolaemia may be the presenting feature of treatable diseases. Understanding its mechanisms may also provide new treatment approaches for neoplastic disease, such as breast cancer, and infections, such as tuberculosis.

Summary

When hypocholesterolaemia is discovered, it is important to identify its cause. Further research into the pathogenesis of hypocholesterolaemia may provide new therapies for primary diseases underlying it.

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