Send to

Choose Destination
Genet Med. 2009 Aug;11(8):588-94. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e3181b13a4f.

Evaluation of risk prediction updates from commercial genome-wide scans.

Author information

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Commercial internet-based companies offer genome-wide scans to predict the risk of common diseases and personalize nutrition and lifestyle recommendations. These risk estimates are updated with every new gene discovery.


To assess the benefits of updating risk information in commercial genome-wide scans, we compared type 2 diabetes risk predictions based on TCF7L2 alone, 18 polymorphisms alone, and 18 polymorphisms plus age, sex, and body mass index. Analyses were performed using data from the Rotterdam study, a prospective, population-based study among individuals aged 55 years and older. Data were available from 5297 participants.


The actual prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the study population was 20%. Predicted risks were below average for carriers of the TCF7L2 CC genotype (predicted risk 17.6%) and above average for the CT and TT genotypes (20.8% and 28.0%). Adding the other 17 polymorphisms caused 34% of participants to be reclassified (i.e., switched between below and above average): 24% of the CC carriers changed to increased risk, 52% and 6% of the CT and TT carriers changed to decreased risk. Including information on age, sex, and body mass index caused 29% to change categories (27%, 31%, and 19% for CC, CT, and TT carriers, respectively). In total, 39% of participants changed categories once when risk factors were updated, and 11% changed twice, i.e., back to their initial risk category.


Updating risk factors may produce contradictory information about an individual's risk status over time, which is undesirable if lifestyle and nutritional recommendations vary accordingly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center