New Pharmacological Approaches to Target PCSK9

Alberico L. Catapano, Angela Pirillo, Giuseppe D. Norata

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9) plays a crucial role in regulating circulating levels of LDL-C as a consequence of its ability to inhibit LDL receptor recycling in the liver. Loss of function variants in the PCSK9 gene result in low LDL-C levels and associate with reduced cardiovascular risk, whereas gain of-function variants associate with hypercholesterolemia and increased risk of early cardiovascular events. Thus, PCSK9 inhibition has been established as an additional approach for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. The aim of this review is to provide a brief overview of current strategies targeting PCSK9 and discuss clinical results of the emerging approaches. Recent Findings: Two monoclonal antibodies targeting circulating PCSK9 (evolocumab and alirocumab) have been approved for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease. Later, a gene silencing approach (inclisiran), which inhibits hepatic PCSK9 synthesis, was shown to be as effective as monoclonal antibodies but with a twice a year injection and is currently under evaluation for approval. Due to the elevated costs of such therapies, several other approaches have been explored, including peptide-based anti PCSK9 vaccination, and small oral PCSK9 inhibitors, which are still in preclinical phase. Summary: In the coming years, we will assist to a progressive introduction of novel anti-PCSK9 approaches in the clinical practice for the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolemia as well as patients at high cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalCurrent Atherosclerosis Reports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Gene silencing
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • PCSK9
  • PCSK9 inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'New Pharmacological Approaches to Target PCSK9'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this