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Polygenic prediction of breast cancer: comparison of genetic predictors and implications for screening

By Kristi Läll, Maarja Lepamets, Marili Palover, Tõnu Esko, Andres Metspalu, Neeme Tõnisson, Peeter Padrik, Reedik Mägi, Krista Fischer

Posted 22 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/448597

Background: Published genetic risk scores for breast cancer (BC) so far have been based on a relatively small number of markers and are not necessarily using the full potential of large-scale Genome-Wide Association Studies. This study aims to identify an efficient polygenic predictor for BC based on best available evidence and to assess its potential for personalized risk prediction and screening strategies. Methods: Four different genetic risk scores (two already published and two newly developed) and their combinations (metaGRS) are compared in the subsets of two population-based biobank cohorts: the UK Biobank (UKBB, 3157 BC cases, 43,827 controls) and Estonian Biobank (EstBB, 317 prevalent and 308 incident BC cases in 32,557 women). In addition, correlations between different genetic risk scores and their associations with BC risk factors are studied in both cohorts. Results: The metaGRS that combines two genetic risk scores (metaGRS2 - based on 75 and 898 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, respectively) has the strongest association with prevalent BC status in both cohorts. One standard deviation difference in the metaGRS2 corresponds to an Odds Ratio = 1.6 (95% CI 1.54 to 1.66, p = 9.7*10-135) in the UK Biobank and accounting for family history marginally attenuates the effect (Odds Ratio = 1.58, 95% CI 1.53 to 1.64, p = 9.1*10-129). In the EstBB cohort, the hazard ratio of incident BC for the women in the top 5% of the metaGRS2 compared to women in the lowest 50% is 4.2 (95% CI 2.8 to 6.2, p = 8.1*10-13 ). The different GRSs are only moderately correlated with each other and are associated with different known predictors of BC. The classification of genetic risk for the same individual may vary considerably depending on the chosen GRS. Conclusions: We have shown that metaGRS2 that combines on the effects of more than 900 SNPs provides best predictive ability for breast cancer in two different population-based cohorts. The strength of the effect of metaGRS2 indicates that the GRS could potentially be used to develop more efficient strategies for breast cancer screening for genotyped women.

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