Anacetrapib reduces progression of atherosclerosis, mainly by reducing non-HDL-cholesterol, improves lesion stability and adds to the beneficial effects of atorvastatin

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The residual risk that remains after statin treatment supports the addition of other LDL-C-lowering agents and has stimulated the search for secondary treatment targets. Epidemiological studies propose HDL-C as a possible candidate. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) transfers cholesteryl esters from atheroprotective HDL to atherogenic (V)LDL. The CETP inhibitor anacetrapib decreases (V)LDL-C by ∼15–40% and increases HDL-C by ∼40–140% in clinical trials. We evaluated the effects of a broad dose range of anacetrapib on atherosclerosis and HDL function, and examined possible additive/synergistic effects of anacetrapib on top of atorvastatin in APOE*3Leiden.CETP mice.

Methods and results

Mice were fed a diet without or with ascending dosages of anacetrapib (0.03; 0.3; 3; 30 mg/kg/day), atorvastatin (2.4 mg/kg/day) alone or in combination with anacetrapib (0.3 mg/kg/day) for 21 weeks. Anacetrapib dose-dependently reduced CETP activity (−59 to −100%, P < 0.001), thereby decreasing non-HDL-C (−24 to −45%, P < 0.001) and increasing HDL-C (+30 to +86%, P < 0.001). Anacetrapib dose-dependently reduced the atherosclerotic lesion area (−41 to −92%, P < 0.01) and severity, increased plaque stability index and added to the effects of atorvastatin by further decreasing lesion size (−95%, P < 0.001) and severity. Analysis of covariance showed that both anacetrapib (P < 0.05) and non-HDL-C (P < 0.001), but not HDL-C (P = 0.76), independently determined lesion size.


Anacetrapib dose-dependently reduces atherosclerosis, and adds to the anti-atherogenic effects of atorvastatin, which is mainly ascribed to a reduction in non-HDL-C. In addition, anacetrapib improves lesion stability.

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