Background: Rupture of atherosclerotic plaques is the major cause of acute cardiovascular events. The biomarker PRO-C6 measuring Endotrophin, a matrikine of collagen type VI, may provide valuable information detecting subjects in need of intensified strategies for secondary prevention.

Objective: In this study, we evaluate endotrophin in human atherosclerotic plaques and circulating levels of PRO-C6 in patients with atherosclerosis, to determine the predictive potential of the biomarker.

Methods: Sections from the stenotic human carotid plaques were stained with the PRO-C6 antibody. PRO-C6 was measured in serum of patients enrolled in the Carotid Plaque Imagining Project (CPIP) (discovery cohort,

Results: PRO-C6 was localized in the core and shoulder of the atherosclerotic plaque. In the discovery cohort, PRO-C6 independently predicted future cardiovascular events (HR 1.089 [95% CI 1.019 -1.164],

Conclusion: PRO-C6 is present in the atherosclerotic plaque and associated with future cardiovascular events, cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality in two large prospective cohorts.

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