Predictive tests for estimating the risk of developing late-stage neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are subject to unique challenges. AMD prevalence increases with age, clinical phenotypes are heterogeneous and control collections are prone to high false-negative rates, as many control subjects are likely to develop disease with advancing age. Risk prediction tests have been presented previously, using up to ten genetic markers and a range of self-reported non-genetic variables such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking history. In order to maximise the accuracy of prediction for mainstream genetic testing, we sought to derive a test comparable in performance to earlier testing models but based purely on genetic markers, which are static through life and not subject to misreporting. We report a multicentre assessment of a larger panel of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) than previously analysed, to improve further the classification performance of a predictive test to estimate the risk of developing choroidal neovascular (CNV) disease. We developed a predictive model based solely on genetic markers and avoided inclusion of self-reported variables (eg smoking history) or non-static factors (BMI, education status) that might otherwise introduce inaccuracies in calculating individual risk estimates. We describe the performance of a test panel comprising 13 SNPs genotyped across a consolidated collection of four patient cohorts obtained from academic centres deemed appropriate for pooling. We report on predictive effect sizes and their classification performance. By incorporating multiple cohorts of homogeneous ethnic origin, we obtained >80 per cent power to detect differences in genetic variants observed between cases and controls. We focused our study on CNV, a subtype of advanced AMD associated with a severe and potentially treatable form of the disease. Lastly, we followed a two-stage strategy involving both test model development and test model validation to present estimates of classification performance anticipated in the larger clinical setting. The model contained nine SNPs tagging variants in the regulators of complement activation (RCA) locus spanning the complement factor H (CFH), complement factor H-related 4 (CFHR4), complement factor H-related 5 (CFHR5) and coagulation factor XIII B subunit (F13B) genes; the four remaining SNPs targeted polymorphisms in the complement component 2 (C2), complement factor B (CFB), complement component 3 (C3) and age-related maculopathy susceptibility protein 2 (ARMS2) genes. The pooled sample size (1,132 CNV cases, 822 controls) allowed for both model development and model validation to confirm the accuracy of risk prediction. At the validation stage, our test model yielded 82 per cent sensitivity and 63 per cent specificity, comparable with metrics reported with earlier testing models that included environmental risk factors. Our test had an area under the curve of 0.80, reflecting a modest improvement compared with tests reported with fewer SNPs.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Choroidal neovascularisation (CNV)
- Complement factor H (CFH)
- Genetic testing