Incorporating a Genetic Risk Score Into Coronary Heart Disease Risk Estimates
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BACKGROUND: Whether knowledge of genetic risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) affects health-related outcomes is unknown. We investigated whether incorporating a genetic risk score (GRS) in CHD risk estimates lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants (n=203, 45-65 years of age, at intermediate risk for CHD, and not on statins) were randomly assigned to receive their 10-year probability of CHD based either on a conventional risk score (CRS) or CRS + GRS ((+)GRS). Participants in the (+)GRS group were stratified as having high or average/low GRS. Risk was disclosed by a genetic counselor followed by shared decision making regarding statin therapy with a physician. We compared the primary end point of LDL-C levels at 6 months and assessed whether any differences were attributable to changes in dietary fat intake, physical activity levels, or statin use. Participants (mean age, 59.4±5 years; 48% men; mean 10-year CHD risk, 8.5±4.1%) were allocated to receive either CRS (n=100) or (+)GRS (n=103). At the end of the study period, the (+)GRS group had a lower LDL-C than the CRS group (96.5±32.7 versus 105.9±33.3 mg/dL; P=0.04). Participants with high GRS had lower LDL-C levels (92.3±32.9 mg/dL) than CRS participants (P=0.02) but not participants with low GRS (100.9±32.2 mg/dL; P=0.18). Statins were initiated more often in the (+)GRS group than in the CRS group (39% versus 22%, P<0.01). No significant differences in dietary fat intake and physical activity levels were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Disclosure of CHD risk estimates that incorporated genetic risk information led to lower LDL-C levels than disclosure of CHD risk based on conventional risk factors alone. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01936675.
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