Effects of fluvastatin on coronary atherosclerosis in patients with mild to moderate cholesterol elevations (lipoprotein and coronary atherosclerosis study [LCAS])
Despite the potential for reduced morbidity and mortality, aggressive intervention against mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) remains controversial and infrequently practiced. Eligible patients in the 2.5-year Lipoprotein and Coronary Atherosclerosis Study were men and women aged 35 to 75 years with angiographic CHD and mean low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol of 115 to 190 mg/dl despite diet. Patients (n = 429; 19% women) were randomized to fluvastatin 20 mg twice daily or placebo. One fourth of patients were also assigned open-label adjunctive cholestyramine up to 12 g/day because prerandomization LDL cholesterol remained > or = 160 mg/dl. The primary end point, assessed by quantitative coronary angiography, was within-patient per-lesion change in minimum lumen diameter (MLD) of qualifying lesions. Across 2.5 years, mean LDL cholesterol was reduced by 23.9% in all fluvastatin patients (+/- cholestyramine) (146 to 111 mg/dl) and by 22.5% in the fluvastatin only subgroup (137 to 106 mg/dl). Primary end point analysis (340 patients) showed significantly less lesion progression in all fluvastatin versus all placebo patients, deltaMLD -0.028 versus -0.100 mm (p <0.01), and for fluvastatin alone versus placebo alone, deltaMLD -0.024 versus -0.094 mm (p <0.02). A consistent angiographic benefit with treatment was seen whether baseline LDL cholesterol was above or below 160 or 130 mg/dl. Beneficial trends with treatment were also consistently seen in clinical event rates but were not statistically significant. Thus, lipid lowering by fluvastatin in patients with mildly to moderately elevated LDL cholesterol significantly slowed CHD progression.