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Coronary Artery Disease Genetic Risk Scores Show Limited Value in New Study

While the use of genetic risk scores for cardiovascular (CV) risk factors do not improve patient risk stratification over validated clinical tools, they may have use in screening individuals prior to the development of conventional risk factors, according to a study appearing in this week's Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine. Aiming to determine the benefits of genetic risk scores for cardiovascular disease as compared to traditional clinical risk scores, a team of scientists from Queen Mary University of London examined data from more than 375,000 middle-aged UK Biobank participants without known cardiovascular conditions, assessing the coronary artery disease (CAD) and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) risk stratification value of multiple genetic risk scores for CV risk factors. The investigators first assessed the CV genetic risk scores' performance when integrated with a validated clinical risk score and a CAD genetic risk score, then looked at their potential for early life screening by comparing them to the CAD genetic risk score alone. They find that CV genetic risk scores do not improve upon the CAD and MACE risk stratification value provided by the clinical risk score and a CAD genetic risk score. They do, however, show potential when included with a CAD genetic risk score for early-life screening and earlier initiation of primary prevention therapies, the study's authors write. "From a clinical point of view, these results shed important insights into the use of GRSs in the general population without known cardiovascular disease," they add