Cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibition to reduce cardiovascular risk: Where are we now?

Philip Barter, Kerry-Anne Rye
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 2011, 32 (12): 694-9
Elevated low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and reduced high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) are major risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. One approach to raising HDL-C is to inhibit the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), a plasma protein that promotes transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL and other lipoprotein fractions. Drugs that inhibit CETP increase HDL-C and some lower LDL-C. However, the development of torcetrapib, the first CETP inhibitor to be tested in a human clinical outcomes trial, was terminated because it caused an excess of deaths and cardiovascular events. There is evidence, however, that torcetrapib had adverse off-target effects unrelated to CETP inhibition. This has opened the way for retesting of the hypothesis that CETP inhibitors will be anti-atherogenic in studies conducted with agents such as dalcetrapib and anacetrapib that do not share the off-target effects of torcetrapib. Clinical outcome trials with dalcetrapib and anacetrapib are currently under way.

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