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Whitfield, John B.; Schwantes-An, Tae-Hwi; Darlay, Rebecca; Aithal, Guruprasad P.; Atkinson, Stephen R.; Bataller, Ramon; Botwin, Greg; Chalasani, Naga P.; Cordell, Heather J.; Daly, Ann K.; Day, Christopher P.; Eyer, Florian; Foroud, Tatiana; Gleeson, Dermot; Goldman, David; Haber, Paul S.; Jacquet, Jean-Marc; Liang, Tiebing; Liangpunsakul, Suthat; Masson, Steven; Mathurin, Philippe; Moirand, Romain; McQuillin, Andrew; Moreno, Christophe; Morgan, Marsha Y.; Mueller, Sebastian; Muellhaupt, Beat; Nagy, Laura E.; Nahon, Pierre; Nalpas, Bertrand; Naveau, Sylvie; Perney, Pascal; Pirmohamed, Munir; Seitz, Helmut K.; Soyka, Michael; Stickel, Felix; Thompson, Andrew; Thursz, Mark R.; Trepo, Eric; Morgan, Timothy R. and Seth, Devanshi (2022): A genetic risk score and diabetes predict development of alcohol-related cirrhosis in drinkers. In: Journal of Hepatology, Vol. 76, No. 2: pp. 275-282

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Background & Aims: Only a minority of excess alcohol drinkers develop cirrhosis. We developed and evaluated risk stratification scores to identify those at highest risk. Methods: Three cohorts (GenomALC-1: n = 1,690, GenomALC-2: n = 3,037, UK Biobank: relevant n = 6,898) with a history of heavy alcohol consumption (>= 80 g/day (men), >= 50 g/day (women), for >= 10 years) were included. Cases were participants with alcohol-related cirrhosis. Controls had a history of similar alcohol consumption but no evidence of liver disease. Risk scores were computed from up to 8 genetic loci identified previously as associated with alcohol-related cirrhosis and 3 clinical risk factors. Score performance for the stratification of alcohol-related cirrhosis risk was assessed and compared across the alcohol-related liver disease spectrum, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Results: A combination of 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (PNPLA3:rs738409, SUGP1-TM6SF2:rs10401969, HSD171313: rs6834314) and diabetes status best discriminated cirrhosis risk. The odds ratios (ORs) and (95% CIs) between the lowest (Q1) and highest (Q5) score quintiles of the 3-SNP score, based on independent allelic effect size estimates, were 5.99 (4.18-8.60) (GenomALC-1), 2.81 (2.03-3.89) (GenomALC-2), and 3.10 (2.32-4.14) (UK Biobank). Patients with diabetes and high risk scores had ORs of 14.7 (7.69-28.1) (GenomALC-1) and 17.1 (11.3-25.7) (UK Biobank) compared to those without diabetes and with low risk scores. Patients with cirrhosis and HCC had significantly higher mean risk scores than patients with cirrhosis alone (0.76 +/- 0.06 vs. 0.61 +/- 0.02, p = 0.007). Score performance was not significantly enhanced by information on additional genetic risk variants, body mass index or coffee consumption. Conclusions: A risk score based on 3 genetic risk variants and diabetes status enables the stratification of heavy drinkers based on their risk of cirrhosis, allowing for the provision of earlier preventative interventions. Lay summary: Excessive chronic drinking leads to cirrhosis in some people, but so far there is no way to identify those at high risk of developing this debilitating disease. We developed a genetic risk score that can identify patients at high risk. The risk of cirrhosis is increased >10-fold with just two risk factors - diabetes and a high genetic risk score. Risk assessment using this test could enable the early and personalised management of this disease in high-risk patients. (C) 2021 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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