Risk prediction by genetic risk scores for coronary heart disease is independent of self-reported family history

Eur Heart J. 2016 Feb 7;37(6):561-7. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv462. Epub 2015 Sep 20.


Aims: Genetic risk scores (GRSs) have been associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in large studies. We asked whether expanding an established 27-variant GRS (GRS27) to a 50-variant GRS (GRS50) improved CHD prediction and whether GRSs are independent of self-reported family history of CHD.

Methods and results: The association between GRSs and incident CHD was assessed in Cox models adjusting for established risk factors in 23 595 participants of the Malmö Diet and Cancer study--a prospective, population-based study. During a median follow-up of 14.4 years, 2213 participants experienced a first CHD event. After adjustment for established risk factors, both GRS27 and GRS50 were associated with incident CHD [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.70 for high (top quintile) vs. low (bottom quintile) of GRS27; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.48-1.94; Ptrend = 1.6 × 10(-15) and HR = 1.92 for GRS50; 95% CI: 1.67-2.20; Ptrend = 6.2 × 10(-22)]. Adding 23 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to GRS27 improved risk prediction (P = 3 × 10(-6)). Further adjustment for self-reported family history did not appreciably change the risk estimates of either GRS27 (HR = 1.65; 95% CI: 1.45-1.89) or GRS50 (HR = 1.87; 95% CI: 1.63-2.14). The addition of GRS50 to established risk factors, including self-reported family history, improved discrimination (P < 0.0001) and reclassification (continuous net reclassification improvement index = 0.17, P < 0.0001). In young participants (below median age), those with high GRS50 had 2.4-fold greater risk (95% CI: 1.85-3.12) than those with low GRS50.

Conclusion: The addition of 23 SNPs to an existing GRS27 improved CHD risk prediction and was independent of self-reported family history. Coronary heart disease risk assessment by GRS could be particularly useful in young individuals.

Keywords: Coronary heart disease risk; Genetic risk scores.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Sweden / epidemiology