Rare and Common Genetic Variation Underlying the Risk of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in a National Biobank

JAMA Cardiol. 2022 Jul 1;7(7):715-722. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2022.1061.


Importance: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. Although rare genetic variants are well-established contributors to HCM risk, common genetic variants have recently been implicated in disease pathogenesis.

Objective: To assess the contributions of rare and common genetic variation to risk of HCM in the general population.

Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study of the UK Biobank (data from 2006-2010) and the Mass General Brigham Biobank (2010-2019) assessed the relative and joint contributions of rare genetic variants and a common variant (polygenic) score to risk of HCM. Both rare and common variant predictors were then evaluated in the context of relevant clinical risk factors. Data analysis was conducted from May 2021 to February 2022.

Exposures: Pathogenic rare variants, common-variant (polygenic) score, and clinical risk factors.

Main outcomes and measures: Risk of HCM.

Results: The primary study population comprised 184 511 individuals from the UK Biobank. Mean (SD) age was 56 (8) years, 83 690 (45%) of participants were men, and 204 (0.1%) participants had HCM. Of 51 genes included in clinical genetic testing panels for HCM, pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in 14 core genes (designated by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics [ACMG]) were associated with 55-fold higher odds (95% CI, 35-83) of HCM, while those in the remaining 37 non-ACMG genes were not significantly associated with HCM (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.6-4.0). ClinVar pathogenic or likely pathogenic mutations in MYBPC3 (OR, 72; 95% CI, 39-124) and MYH7 (OR, 61; 95% CI, 26-121) were strongly associated with HCM, as were loss-of-function variants in ALPK3 (OR, 13; 95% CI, 4.4-28). A polygenic score was strongly associated with HCM (OR per SD increase in score, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4-1.8), with concordant results in the Mass General Brigham Biobank. Genetic factors enhanced clinical risk prediction for HCM: addition of rare variant carrier status and the polygenic score to clinical risk factors (obesity, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and coronary artery disease) improved the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve from 0.71 (95% CI, 0.65-0.77) to 0.82 (95% CI, 0.77-0.87).

Conclusions and relevance: Both rare and common genetic variants contribute substantially to HCM susceptibility in the general population and improve HCM risk prediction beyond that achieved with clinical factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic* / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation