Individuals with type 1 diabetes are at a high lifetime risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), calling for early interventions. This study explores the use of a genetic risk score (GRS) for CAD risk prediction, compares it to established clinical markers, and investigates its performance according to the age and pharmacological treatment.


This study in 3,295 individuals with type 1 diabetes from the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy Study (467 incident CAD, 14.8 years follow-up) used three risk scores: a GRS, a validated clinical score, and their combined score. Hazard ratios (HR) were calculated with Cox regression, and model performances were compared with the Harrell C-index (C-index).


A HR of 6.7 for CAD was observed between the highest and the lowest 5th percentile of the GRS (P = 1.8 × 10−6). The performance of GRS (C-index = 0.562) was similar to HbA1c (C-index = 0.563, P = 0.96 for difference), HDL (C-index = 0.571, P = 0.6), and total cholesterol (C-index = 0.594, P = 0.1). The GRS was not correlated with the clinical score (r = −0.013, P = 0.5). The combined score outperformed the clinical score (C-index = 0.813 vs. C-index = 0.820, P = 0.003). The GRS performed better in individuals below the median age (38.6 years) compared with those above (C-index = 0.637 vs. C-index = 0.546).


A GRS identified individuals at high risk of CAD and worked better in younger individuals. GRS was also an independent risk factor for CAD, with a predictive power comparable to that of HbA1c and HDL and total cholesterol, and when incorporated into a clinical model, modestly improved the predictions. The GRS promises early risk stratification in clinical practice by enhancing the prediction of CAD.

R.L. and A.A.A. contributed equally.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.17138330.


A complete list of the FinnDiane Study Group can be found in the supplementary material online.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at https://www.diabetesjournals.org/journals/pages/license.
You do not currently have access to this content.