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Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) facilitates exchange of triglycerides and cholesteryl ester between high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and apolipoprotein B100-containing lipoproteins. Evidence from genetic studies that variants in the CETP gene were associated with higher blood HDL cholesterol, lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and lower risk of coronary heart disease suggested that pharmacological inhibition of CETP may be beneficial. To date, 4 CETP inhibitors have entered phase 3 cardiovascular outcome trials. Torcetrapib was withdrawn due to unanticipated off-target effects that increased risk of death, and major trials of dalcetrapib and evacetrapib were terminated early for futility. In the 30,000-patient REVEAL (Randomized Evaluation of the Effects of Anacetrapib through Lipid Modification) trial, anacetrapib doubled HDL cholesterol, reduced non-HDL cholesterol by 17 mg/dl (0.44 mmol/l), and reduced major vascular events by 9% over 4 years, but anaceptrapib was found to accumulate in adipose tissue, and regulatory approval is not being sought. Therefore, despite considerable initial promise, CETP inhibition provides insufficient cardiovascular benefit for routine use.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Coll Cardiol

Publication Date





477 - 487


CETP, CETP inhibitor, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, Mendelian randomization, cardiovascular disease, randomized trial