Background: Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for coronary artery disease (CAD) identify high-risk individuals more likely to benefit from primary prevention statin therapy. Whether polygenic CAD risk is captured by conventional paradigms for assessing clinical cardiovascular risk remains unclear.
Objectives: This study sought to intersect polygenic risk with guideline-based recommendations and management patterns for CAD primary prevention.
Methods: A genome-wide CAD PRS was applied to 47,108 individuals across 3 U.S. health care systems. The authors then assessed whether primary prevention patients at high polygenic risk might be distinguished on the basis of greater guideline-recommended statin eligibility and higher rates of statin therapy.
Results: Of 47,108 study participants, the mean age was 60 years, and 11,020 (23.4%) had CAD. The CAD PRS strongly associated with prevalent CAD (odds ratio: 1.4 per SD increase in PRS; p < 0.0001). High polygenic risk (top 20% of PRS) conferred 1.9-fold odds of developing CAD (p < 0.0001). However, among primary prevention patients (n = 33,251), high polygenic risk did not correspond with increased recommendations for statin therapy per the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (46.2% for those with high PRS vs. 46.8% for all others, p = 0.54) or U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (43.7% vs. 43.7%, p = 0.99) or higher rates of statin prescriptions (25.0% vs. 23.8%, p = 0.04). An additional 4.1% of primary prevention patients may be recommended for statin therapy if high CAD PRS were considered a guideline-based risk-enhancing factor.
Conclusions: Current paradigms for primary cardiovascular prevention incompletely capture a polygenic susceptibility to CAD. An opportunity may exist to improve CAD prevention efforts by integrating both genetic and clinical risk.
Keywords: coronary artery disease; genetic risk; primary prevention; statin.
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