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Stanford-led study disproves link between genetic variant, risk of coronary artery disease
Date:10/7/2010

earlier studies had suggested a 22-55 percent greater risk for those who had the variant. "We are showing that the additional risk is almost certainly nil in subjects of European ancestry. If it is not nil, it is at most 2 percent," Assimes said.

The study pulled together data from research groups around the world that have genetically fingerprinted individuals with known coronary disease as well as subjects with no known disease. Most of the data were from people of European descent, but a lack of association was also noted in smaller number of subjects of non-European ancestry. The Stanford researchers' co-authors include more than 130 scientists, clinicians and administrators at over 70 research organizations in Europe and North America.

The study offers good news to patients whose KIF6 test result had indicated they were at risk for heart attacks. "They don't need to worry so much," Quertermous said. "If they are on medications strictly because of their KIF6 test result, they should ask their doctor to reconsider the need for these medications."

Because of the study's design, it could not directly confirm or refute the marker's ability to identify the subjects' response to statins, which are drugs that lower cholesterol levels. However, Assimes cautioned that the original observation, which found the KIF6 variant indicated a good response to the medication, assumed that carriers of the variant not on statins were at significantly increased risk of coronary disease compared to non-carriers.

"In light of our findings, the marker's ability to identify statin responders is also in doubt," said Assimes. "Until very large-scale studies are performed to directly test the marker's ability to identify statin responders, I would not withhold statins from patients just because their KIF6 test was negative."

The finding's larger message is that more caution is warranted when using genetic markers to guide health care. There's und
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Contact: Susan Ipaktchian
susani@stanford.edu
650-725-5375
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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