BACKGROUND: The European Atherosclerosis Society-European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine Consensus Panel aims to provide recommendations to optimize atherogenic lipoprotein quantification for cardiovascular risk management.
CONTENT: We critically examined LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B (apoB), and LDL particle number assays based on key criteria for medical application of biomarkers. (a) Analytical performance: Discordant LDL cholesterol quantification occurs when LDL cholesterol is measured or calculated with different assays, especially in patients with hypertriglyceridemia >175 mg/dL (2 mmol/L) and low LDL cholesterol concentrations <70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L). Increased lipoprotein(a) should be excluded in patients not achieving LDL cholesterol goals with treatment. Non-HDL cholesterol includes the atherogenic risk component of remnant cholesterol and can be calculated in a standard nonfasting lipid panel without additional expense. ApoB more accurately reflects LDL particle number. (b) Clinical performance: LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and apoB are comparable predictors of cardiovascular events in prospective population studies and clinical trials; however, discordance analysis of the markers improves risk prediction by adding remnant cholesterol (included in non-HDL cholesterol) and LDL particle number (with apoB) risk components to LDL cholesterol testing. (c) Clinical and cost-effectiveness: There is no consistent evidence yet that non-HDL cholesterol-, apoB-, or LDL particle-targeted treatment reduces the number of cardiovascular events and healthcare-related costs than treatment targeted to LDL cholesterol.
SUMMARY: Follow-up of pre- and on-treatment (measured or calculated) LDL cholesterol concentration in a patient should ideally be performed with the same documented test method. Non-HDL cholesterol (or apoB) should be the secondary treatment target in patients with mild to moderate hypertriglyceridemia, in whom LDL cholesterol measurement or calculation is less accurate and often less predictive of cardiovascular risk. Laboratories should report non-HDL cholesterol in all standard lipid panels.