Genetic risk score enhances the risk prediction of severe obesity in adult survivors of childhood cancer

Nat Med. 2022 Aug;28(8):1590-1598. doi: 10.1038/s41591-022-01902-3. Epub 2022 Jul 25.


Adult survivors of childhood cancer have high rates of obesity, which, in combination with the cardiotoxic effects of specific cancer therapies, places them at high risk for cardiovascular morbidity. Here we show the contribution of genetic risk scores (GRSs) to increase prediction of those survivors of childhood cancer who are at risk for severe obesity (body mass index ≥40 kg m-2) as an adult. Among 2,548 individuals of European ancestry from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study who were 5-year survivors of childhood cancer, the GRS was found to be associated with 53-fold-higher odds of severe obesity. Addition of GRSs to risk prediction models based on cancer treatment exposures and lifestyle factors significantly improved model prediction (area under the curve increased from 0.68 to 0.75, resulting in the identification of 4.3-times more high-risk survivors), which was independently validated in 6,064 individuals from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Genetic predictors improve identification of patients who could benefit from heightened surveillance and interventions to mitigate the risk of severe obesity and associated cardio-metabolic complications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Obesity, Morbid*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivors