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GEN News Highlights : Apr 11, 2007

Researchers Unable to Verify 85 Gene Variations Associated with ACS

Study of over 1,400 people couldn’t confirm genetic risk factors associated with heart attacks and angina.

New research has failed to confirm findings from smaller studies that 85 gene variations are definitively associated with an increased risk for acute coronary syndromes (ACS), which includes heart attack and a type of angina, according to a study in the April 11 issue of JAMA.

Previous studies identified a number of genetic variations as potential cardiovascular risk factors. "Before use in clinical care, potential genetic risk factors would ideally be replicated en masse in large, well-characterized patient populations,” caution the authors. “To date, no such comprehensive validation of genetic variants potentially associated with ACS or atherosclerosis has been reported.”

Thomas M. Morgan, M.D., formerly of the Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study to validate genetic risk factors for ACS. The researchers identified genetic variants previously reported as significant susceptibility factors for atherosclerosis or ACS through a literature search of published articles. This study included 811 patients with ACS and 650 age- and sex-matched controls who were genotyped for 85 variants in 70 genes and attempted to replicate previously reported associations.

Of 85 variants tested, only one of the gene variants was nominally statistically significant. Only four additional genes were positive in model-free analysis and only 41 of 84 predefined risk variants were even marginally more frequent in cases than in controls, with one tie.