Polygenic risk score—a genetic assessment that doctors have hoped could predict coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients—is not a useful predictive biomarker for disease risk, according to a study published in February 2020 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of the predictive accuracy of polygenic risk scores in 7,306 adults of European ancestry ages 45-79. The patients were taken from two large cohort studies, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
They found that the polygenic risk score didn't significantly improve prediction of CHD risk in this population. It was no more useful than the conventional method of determining CHD risk, which involves assigning a patient a clinical risk score based on factors including age, gender, cholesterol levels, and tobacco use
Researchers have long sought to reduce cardiovascular mortality by early identification of CHD. The study suggests that polygenic risk scores should not be added to the standard of care for identifying high-risk CHD patients at this time; however, further study is needed to determine whether other populations may benefit from a polygenic risk score.