Highly elevated polygenic risk scores are better predictors of myocardial infarction risk early in life than later

Monica Isgut, Jimeng Sun, Arshed A. Quyyumi, Greg Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several polygenic risk scores (PRS) have been developed for cardiovascular risk prediction, but the additive value of including PRS together with conventional risk factors for risk prediction is questionable. This study assesses the clinical utility of including four PRS generated from 194, 46K, 1.5M, and 6M SNPs, along with conventional risk factors, to predict risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD), myocardial infarction (MI), and first MI event on or before age 50 (early MI). Methods: A cross-validated logistic regression (LR) algorithm was trained either on ~ 440K European ancestry individuals from the UK Biobank (UKB), or the full UKB population, including as features different combinations of conventional established-at-birth risk factors (ancestry, sex) and risk factors that are non-fixed over an individual’s lifespan (age, BMI, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, smoking, family history), with and without also including PRS. The algorithm was trained separately with IHD, MI, and early MI as prediction labels. Results: When LR was trained using risk factors established-at-birth, adding the four PRS significantly improved the area under the curve (AUC) for IHD (0.62 to 0.67) and MI (0.67 to 0.73), as well as for early MI (0.70 to 0.79). When LR was trained using all risk factors, adding the four PRS only resulted in a significantly higher disease prevalence in the 98th and 99th percentiles of both the IHD and MI scores. Conclusions: PRS improve cardiovascular risk stratification early in life when knowledge of later-life risk factors is unavailable. However, by middle age, when many risk factors are known, the improvement attributed to PRS is marginal for the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalGenome medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Polygenic risk scores
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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