Biomarkers May Not Improve Heart Risk Assessment

Second study found no association between any CRP loci and coronary heart disease
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Plasma levels of biomarkers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) may not offer much (or any) value in predicting coronary heart disease risk over traditional risk factors, according to a pair of studies in the July 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In one study, Olle Melander, M.D., of Lund University in Malmo, Sweden, and colleagues studied plasma levels of CRP and several other biomarkers in a cohort of 5,067 subjects who did not have cardiovascular disease at the time of a baseline exam. The group was followed until 2006, by which time there had been 418 cardiovascular and 230 coronary events. The researchers found that while selected biomarkers could be useful in predicting future cardiovascular events, there was only minimal benefit over conventional risk factors.

In the other study, Paul Elliott, of Imperial College London, and colleagues used data from studies between 1989 and 2008 to identify genetic loci and single-nucleotide polymorphisms most closely associated with CRP levels. The researchers conducted a randomization study to compare the CRP loci variants to observational studies of CRP and coronary heart disease but could discern no association between any CRP loci and coronary heart disease.

"In summary, our mendelian randomization study of more than 28,000 cases and 100,000 controls found no association of variants in the CRP locus and coronary heart disease, arguing against a causal role for CRP in atherosclerosis. Moreover, this study suggests that development of therapeutic strategies targeting specific reductions in plasma levels of CRP are unlikely to be fruitful," Elliott and colleagues conclude.

Several authors in the Swedish study reported either a personal financial interest in blood assay patents or the company BRAHMS AG, which holds a patent on blood assays.

Abstract - Melander
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Abstract - Elliott
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