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AIMS : Many studies have investigated associations between polygenic risk scores (PRS) and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD); few have examined whether risk factor-related PRS predict CVD outcomes among adults treated with risk-modifying therapies. We assessed whether PRS for systolic blood pressure (PRSSBP) and for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (PRSLDL-C) were associated with achieving SBP and LDL-C-related targets, and with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE: non-fatal stroke or myocardial infarction, CVD death, and revascularization procedures). METHODS AND RESULTS : Using observational data from the UK Biobank (UKB), we calculated PRSSBP and PRSLDL-C and constructed two sub-cohorts of unrelated adults of White British ancestry aged 40-69 years and with no history of CVD, who reported taking medications used in the treatment of hypertension or hypercholesterolaemia. Treatment effectiveness in achieving adequate risk factor control was ascertained using on-treatment blood pressure (BP) or LDL-C levels measured at enrolment (uncontrolled hypertension: BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg; uncontrolled hypercholesterolaemia: LDL-C ≥ 3 mmol/L). We conducted multivariable logistic and Cox regression modelling for incident events, adjusting for socioeconomic characteristics, and CVD risk factors. There were 55 439 participants using BP lowering therapies (51.0% male, mean age 61.0 years, median follow-up 11.5 years) and 33 787 using LDL-C lowering therapies (58.5% male, mean age 61.7 years, median follow-up 11.4 years). PRSSBP was associated with uncontrolled hypertension (odds ratio 1.70; 95% confidence interval: 1.60-1.80) top vs. bottom quintile, equivalent to a 5.4 mmHg difference in SBP, and with MACE [hazard ratio (HR) 1.13; 1.04-1.23]. PRSLDL-C was associated with uncontrolled hypercholesterolaemia (HR 2.78; 2.58-3.00) but was not associated with subsequent MACE. CONCLUSION : We extend previous findings in the UKB cohort to examine PRSSBP and PRSLDL-C with treatment effectiveness. Our results indicate that both PRSSBP and PRSLDL-C can help identify individuals who, despite being on treatment, have inadequately controlled SBP and LDL-C, and for SBP are at higher risk for CVD events. This extends the potential role of PRS in clinical practice from identifying patients who may need these interventions to identifying patients who may need more intensive intervention.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Prev Cardiol

Publication Date



Cardiovascular disease, Hyperlipidaemia, Hypertension, Polygenic risk, Precision medicine, UK