Polygenic risk score-analysis of thromboembolism in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Kirsten Brunsvig Jarvis*, Rikke Linnemann Nielsen, Ramneek Gupta, Freja Dahl Hede, Pasi Huttunen, Ólafur Gisli Jónsson, Cecilie Utke Rank, Susanna Ranta, Kadri Saks, Sonata Saulyte Trakymiene, Ruta Tuckuviene, Morten Tulstrup, Ellen Ruud, Kjeld Schmiegelow, Marissa LeBlanc

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: Thromboembolism (TE) is a common and serious toxicity of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treatment, but studies of genetic predisposition have been underpowered with conflicting results. We tested whether TE in ALL and TE in the general adult population have a shared genetic etiology. Materials and methods: We prospectively registered TE events and collected germline DNA in patients 1.0–45.9 years in the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL2008 study (7/2008–7/2016). Based on summary statistics from two large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on venous TE in adults (the International Network of VENous Thromboembolism Clinical Research Networks (INVENT) consortium and the UK Biobank), we performed polygenic risk score (PRS) analysis on TE development in the NOPHO cohort, progressively expanding the PRS by increasing the p-value threshold of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) inclusion. Results and conclusion: Eighty-nine of 1252 patients with ALL developed TE, 2.5 year cumulative incidence 7.2%. PRS of genome-wide significant SNPs from the INVENT and UK Biobank data were not significantly associated with TE, HR 1.16 (p 0.14) and 1.02 (p 0.86), respectively. Expanding PRS by increasing p-value threshold did not reveal polygenic overlap. However, subgroup analysis of adolescents 10.0–17.9 years (n = 231), revealed significant polygenic overlap with the INVENT GWAS. The best fit PRS, including 16,144 SNPs, was associated with TE with HR 1.76 (95% CI 1.23–2.52, empirical p-value 0.02). Our results support an underlying genetic predisposition for TE in adolescents with ALL and should be explored further in future TE risk prediction models.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThrombosis Research
Pages (from-to)15-20
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Polygenic risk score
  • Thromboembolism


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