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Genetic Testing Does Not Enhance Heart Disease Risk Prediction

Polygenic risk score associated with heart disease events, not a better predictor than standard risk factors

TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Genetic testing is not better at predicting coronary heart disease risk compared with conventional risk factors, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jonathan D. Mosley, M.D., Ph.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues retrospectively assessed the accuracy of a polygenic risk score at predicting 10-year first coronary heart disease events among adults aged 45 to 79 years using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC; 4,847 patients) and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA; 2,390 patients) studies between 1996 and 2015. The predictive accuracy of the polygenic risk score was compared to the performance of the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association pooled cohort equations.

The researchers found that the polygenic risk score was associated with 10-year coronary heart disease incidence in both studies (hazard ratio per standard-deviation increment, 1.24 and 1.38 for ARIC and MESA, respectively); however, the addition of the polygenic risk score did not improve the predictive ability of the pooled cohort equations for either study.

“Genetics is an important determinant of familial diseases and a key tool for understanding human biology, and the idea that genetics may also be important for predicting common diseases has been a source of excitement over the past several years. But as an everyday clinical tool for predicting cardiovascular risk, human genetics isn’t there yet,” a coauthor said in a statement. “We should not lose sight of traditional risk factors for assessing risk of cardiovascular disease, counseling about that risk, and strategizing on reducing it.”

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