High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) have several potentially protective vascular effects. Most clinical studies of therapies targeting HDL have failed to show benefits vs. placebo.To investigate the effects of an HDL-mimetic agent on atherosclerosis by intravascular ultrasonography (IVUS) and quantitative coronary angiography (QCA).A prospective, double-blinded, randomized trial was conducted at 51 centres in the USA, the Netherlands, Canada, and France. Intravascular ultrasonography and QCA were performed to assess coronary atherosclerosis at baseline and 3 (2-5) weeks after the last study infusion.Five hundred and seven patients were randomized; 417 and 461 had paired IVUS and QCA measurements, respectively.Patients were randomized to receive 6 weekly infusions of placebo, 3 mg/kg, 6 mg/kg, or 12 mg/kg CER-001.The primary efficacy parameter was the nominal change in the total atheroma volume. Nominal changes in per cent atheroma volume on IVUS and coronary scores on QCA were also pre-specified endpoints.The nominal change in the total atheroma volume (adjusted means) was -2.71, -3.13, -1.50, and -3.05 mm(3) with placebo, CER-001 3 mg/kg, 6 mg/kg, and 12 mg/kg, respectively (primary analysis of 12 mg/kg vs. placebo: P = 0.81). There was also no difference among groups for the nominal change in per cent atheroma volume (0.02, -0.02, 0.01, and 0.19%; nominal P = 0.53 for 12 mg/kg vs. placebo). Change in the coronary artery score was -0.022, -0.036, -0.022, and -0.015 mm (nominal P = 0.25, 0.99, 0.55), and change in the cumulative coronary stenosis score was -0.51, 2.65, 0.71, and -0.77% (compared with placebo, nominal P = 0.85 for 12 mg/kg and nominal P = 0.01 for 3 mg/kg). The number of patients with major cardiovascular events was 10 (8.3%), 16 (13.3%), 17 (13.7%), and 12 (9.8%) in the four groups.CER-001 infusions did not reduce coronary atherosclerosis on IVUS and QCA when compared with placebo. Whether CER-001 administered in other regimens or to other populations could favourably affect atherosclerosis must await further study. Name of the trial registry: Clinicaltrials.gov; Registry's URL: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01201837?term=cer-001&rank=2;NCT01201837.