BACKGROUND: In addition to lowering low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), statin therapy also raises high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Inter-individual variation in HDL-C response to statins may be partially explained by genetic variation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify variants with an effect on statin-induced high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) changes. The 123 most promising signals with p<1×10(-4) from the 16 769 statin-treated participants in the first analysis stage were followed up in an independent group of 10 951 statin-treated individuals, providing a total sample size of 27 720 individuals. The only associations of genome-wide significance (p<5×10(-8)) were between minor alleles at the CETP locus and greater HDL-C response to statin treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on results from this study that included a relatively large sample size, we suggest that CETP may be the only detectable locus with common genetic variants that influence HDL-C response to statins substantially in individuals of European descent. Although CETP is known to be associated with HDL-C, we provide evidence that this pharmacogenetic effect is independent of its association with baseline HDL-C levels.