A 45-SNP genetic risk score is increased in early-onset coronary artery disease but independent of familial disease clustering


      • A common-variant genetic risk score (GRS) is modestly increased in early-onset CAD.
      • Familial clustering of early-onset CAD is common but independent of the GRS.
      • Early-onset CAD familial clustering may better predict CAD severity than the GRS.


      Background and aims

      Common genetic risk variants may contribute to the heritability of early-onset coronary artery disease (CAD). We aimed to investigate the association of a genetic risk score (GRS) with age upon CAD-onset and to test the association between the GRS, familial clustering, and CAD severity in early-onset CAD.


      134 early-onset CAD patients (<40 years), 446 late-onset CAD patients (male >55 years/female >65 years), and 89 healthy controls were genotyped for 45 CAD-associated SNPs and a GRS was created. In early-onset CAD patients, family pedigrees with information on 1585 1st and 2nd degree relatives were used to calculate a stratified log-rank family score (SLFS) as a measure of familial clustering.


      Early-onset patients had a higher mean GRS than late-onset CAD patients (p = 0.02) and healthy controls (p < 0.0001). In the adjusted model, a GRS increase of one SD was associated with 1.2 years (95% CI 0.1–2.2) earlier onset. The GRS was not associated with the SLFS in the regression model (p = 0.41) and did not differ between SLFS tertiles (p = 0.98). The SLFS predicted the number of affected coronary vessels (OR [95% CI] per SD increase in SLFS: 2.0 [1.4–3.0]), whereas the association between the GRS and CAD severity was not statistically significant (OR [95% CI] per SD increase in GRS: 1.3 [0.9–1.9]).


      The GRS was increased in early-onset CAD patients, but not associated with the SLFS, suggesting that these common genetic variants are of minor importance in familial clustering of early-onset CAD. Furthermore, family pedigree analysis may predict CAD severity more precisely than common variants.


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