Purpose: We tested whether providing a genetic risk score (GRS) for coronary artery disease (CAD) would serve as a motivator to improve adherence to risk-reducing strategies.
Methods: We randomized 94 participants with at least moderate risk of CAD to receive standard-of-care with (N = 49) or without (N = 45) their GRS at a subsequent 3-month follow-up visit. Our primary outcome was change in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) between the 3- and 6-month follow-up visits (ΔLDL-C). Secondary outcomes included other CAD risk factors, weight loss, diet, physical activity, risk perceptions, and psychological outcomes. In pre-specified analyses, we examined whether there was a greater motivational effect in participants with a higher GRS.
Results: Sixty-five participants completed the protocol including 30 participants in the GRS arm. We found no change in the primary outcome between participants receiving their GRS and standard-of-care participants (ΔLDL-C: -13 vs. -9 mg/dl). Among participants with a higher GRS, we observed modest effects on weight loss and physical activity. All other secondary outcomes were not significantly different, including anxiety and worry.
Conclusion: Adding GRS to standard-of-care did not change lipids, adherence, or psychological outcomes. Potential modest benefits in weight loss and physical activity for participants with high GRS need to be validated in larger trials.
Keywords: GWAS; LDL-cholesterol; cardiovascular risk; coronary artery disease; genetic risk score.