Inhibition of sclerostin is a therapeutic approach to lowering fracture risk in patients with osteoporosis. However, data from phase 3 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of romosozumab, a first-in-class monoclonal antibody that inhibits sclerostin, suggest an imbalance of serious cardiovascular events, and regulatory agencies have issued marketing authorizations with warnings of cardiovascular disease. Here, we meta-analyze published and unpublished cardiovascular outcome trial data of romosozumab and investigate whether genetic variants that mimic therapeutic inhibition of sclerostin are associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Meta-analysis of up to three RCTs indicated a probable higher risk of cardiovascular events with romosozumab. Scaled to the equivalent dose of romosozumab (210 milligrams per month; 0.09 grams per square centimeter of higher bone mineral density), the SOST genetic variants were associated with lower risk of fracture and osteoporosis (commensurate with the therapeutic effect of romosozumab) and with a higher risk of myocardial infarction and/or coronary revascularization and major adverse cardiovascular events. The same variants were also associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and higher systolic blood pressure and central adiposity. Together, our findings indicate that inhibition of sclerostin may elevate cardiovascular risk, warranting a rigorous evaluation of the cardiovascular safety of romosozumab and other sclerostin inhibitors.
Sci Transl Med