Use of Polygenic Risk Scores for Coronary Heart Disease in Ancestrally Diverse Populations

Ozan Dikilitas, Daniel J. Schaid, Catherine Tcheandjieu, Shoa L. Clarke, Themistocles L. Assimes, Iftikhar J. Kullo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: A polygenic risk score (PRS) is a measure of genetic liability to a disease and is typically normally distributed in a population. Individuals in the upper tail of this distribution often have relative risk equivalent to that of monogenic form of the disease. The majority of currently available PRSs for coronary heart disease (CHD) have been generated from cohorts of European ancestry (EUR) and vary in their applicability to other ancestry groups. In this report, we review the performance of PRSs for CHD across different ancestries and efforts to reduce variability in performance including novel population and statistical genetics approaches. Recent Findings: PRSs for CHD perform robustly in EUR populations but lag in performance in non-EUR groups, particularly individuals of African ancestry. Several large consortia have been established to enable genomic studies in diverse ancestry groups and develop methods to improve PRS performance in multi-ancestry contexts as well as admixed individuals. These include fine-mapping to ascertain causal variants, trans ancestry meta-analyses, and ancestry deconvolution in admixed individuals. Summary: PRSs are being used in the clinical setting but enthusiasm has been tempered by the variable performance in non-EUR ancestry groups. Increasing diversity in genomic association studies and continued innovation in methodological approaches are needed to improve PRS performance in non-EUR individuals for equitable implementation of genomic medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1177
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent cardiology reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diverse
  • Multi-ancestry
  • Polygenic risk score
  • Risk prediction
  • Transethnic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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