Hong SJ, Lee YJ, Lee SJ, et al. Treat-to-Target or High-Intensity Statin in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2023 Mar 6. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.2487.

IMPORTANCE: In patients with coronary artery disease, some guidelines recommend initial statin treatment with high-intensity statins to achieve at least a 50% reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). An alternative approach is to begin with moderate-intensity statins and titrate to a specific LDL-C goal. These alternatives have not been compared head-to-head in a clinical trial involving patients with known coronary artery disease.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether a treat-to-target strategy is noninferior to a strategy of high-intensity statins for long-term clinical outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A randomized, multicenter, noninferiority trial in patients with a coronary disease diagnosis treated at 12 centers in South Korea (enrollment: September 9, 2016, through November 27, 2019; final follow-up: October 26, 2022).

INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either the LDL-C target strategy, with an LDL-C level between 50 and 70 mg/dL as the target, or high-intensity statin treatment, which consisted of rosuvastatin, 20 mg, or atorvastatin, 40 mg.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Primary end point was a 3-year composite of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, or coronary revascularization with a noninferiority margin of 3.0 percentage points.

RESULTS: Among 4400 patients, 4341 patients (98.7%) completed the trial (mean [SD] age, 65.1 [9.9] years; 1228 females [27.9%]). In the treat-to-target group (n = 2200), which had 6449 person-years of follow-up, moderate-intensity and high-intensity dosing were used in 43% and 54%, respectively. The mean (SD) LDL-C level for 3 years was 69.1 (17.8) mg/dL in the treat-to-target group and 68.4 (20.1) mg/dL in the high-intensity statin group (n = 2200) (P = .21, compared with the treat-to-target group). The primary end point occurred in 177 patients (8.1%) in the treat-to-target group and 190 patients (8.7%) in the high-intensity statin group (absolute difference, -0.6 percentage points [upper boundary of the 1-sided 97.5% CI, 1.1 percentage points]; P < .001 for noninferiority).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among patients with coronary artery disease, a treat-to-target LDL-C strategy of 50 to 70 mg/dL as the goal was noninferior to a high-intensity statin therapy for the 3-year composite of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, or coronary revascularization. These findings provide additional evidence supporting the suitability of a treat-to-target strategy that may allow a tailored approach with consideration for individual variability in drug response to statin therapy.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02579499.

Ratings by Clinicians (at least 3 per Specialty)
Specialty Score
Internal Medicine
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
Comments from MORE raters

Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) rater

Well done study with a lot delved into. This may allow docs to use somewhat lower doses of meds.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

It makes clinical sense to set target goals, but the side effects sometimes make it difficult for some patients with side effects that may or may not be directly attributed to the drug. More studies needed.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

Highly relevant given current ACC guidelines.

Internal Medicine rater

Interesting trial. I am surprised that safety endpoints were not highlighted more since this is the main point of the 2 strategies.