The growing public interest in genetic risk scores for various health conditions can be harnessed to inspire preventive health action. However, current commercially available genetic risk scores can be deceiving as they do not consider other, easily attainable risk factors, such as sex, BMI, age, smoking habits, parental disease status and physical activity. Recent scientific literature shows that adding these factors can improve PGS based predictions significantly. However, implementation of existing PGS based models that also consider these factors requires reference data based on a specific genotyping chip, which is not always available. In this paper, we offer a method naïve to the genotyping chip used. We train these models using the UK Biobank data and test these externally in the Lifelines cohort. We show improved performance at identifying the 10% most at-risk individuals for type 2 diabetes (T2D) and coronary artery disease (CAD) by including common risk factors. Incidence in the highest risk group increases from 3.0- and 4.0-fold to 5.8 for T2D, when comparing the genetics-based model, common risk factor-based model and combined model, respectively. Similarly, we observe an increase from 2.4- and 3.0-fold to 4.7-fold risk for CAD. As such, we conclude that it is paramount that these additional variables are considered when reporting risk, unlike current practice with current available genetic tests.



You can read the full paper at