Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Polygenic risk scores (PRS) are proposed for use in clinical and research settings for risk stratification. However, there are limited investigations on how different PRS diverge from each other in risk prediction of individuals. We compared two recently published PRS for each of three conditions, breast cancer, hypertension and dementia, to assess the stability of using these algorithms for risk prediction in a single large population. We used imputed genotyping data from the UK Biobank prospective cohort, limited to the White British subset. We found that: (1) 20% or more of SNPs in the first PRS were not represented in the more recent PRS for all three diseases, by the same SNP or a surrogate with R2 > 0.8 by linkage disequilibrium (LD). (2) Although the difference in the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) obtained using the two PRS is hardly appreciable for all three diseases, there were large differences in individual risk prediction between the two PRS. For instance, for each disease, of those classified in the top 5% of risk by the first PRS, over 60% were not so classified by the second PRS. We found substantial discordance between different PRS for the same disease, indicating that individuals could receive different medical advice depending on which PRS is used to assess their genetic susceptibility. It is desirable to resolve this uncertainty before using PRS for risk stratification in clinical settings.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

Publication Date





Biological Specimen Banks, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genome-Wide Association Study, Humans, Multifactorial Inheritance, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, United Kingdom