Beyond the Usual Suspects: Expanding on Mutations and Detection for Familial Hypercholesterolemia

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Introduction: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a highly prevalent condition, predisposing individuals to premature cardiovascular disease and with a genetic basis more complex than initially thought. Advances in molecular technologies have provided novel insights into the role of next-generation-sequencing, the assessment and classification of newly found variants, the complex genotype-phenotype correlation, and the position of FH in the context of other dyslipidaemias. Areas covered: Understanding the scope of genetic determinants of FH has expanded substantially. This article reviews the current literature on the complexity that comes with this incremental knowledge and highlights the added value of genetic testing as an addition to phenotypic diagnosis of FH. Moreover, we discuss the broad genetic basis of FH, with a focus on the three main FH genes, but we also pay attention to polygenic hypercholesterolemia as well as minor and modulator genes involved in FH. Expert opinion: Both the availability and the need for genetic analysis of FH are on the rise as costs of sequencing continue to drop and new therapies require a genetic diagnosis for reimbursement. However, greater use of genetic testing requires more education of healthcare professionals, since molecular technologies will allow for rapid and accurate evaluation of large numbers of detected variants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-895
Number of pages9
JournalExpert review of molecular diagnostics
Issue number9
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • cascade screening
  • monogenic
  • next-generation sequencing
  • phenotypic
  • polygenic

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