Can genes predict outcome in CBT?

In a new study by our group, we showed for the first time an association of a polygenetic signal and outcome in CBT. The study was published in Molecular Psychiatry and included 894 individuals with depression who underwent 12 weeks of internet based CBT. Single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping arrays were used to calculate the genomic risk scores based on large genetic studies of six phenotypes: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, intelligence, and educational attainment. The relationships between the six genetic risk scores and cognitive behavior therapy outcome was analyzed. Our analyses yielded one significant interaction effect (B = 0.09, p < 0.001): the autism spectrum disorder genetic risk score correlated with Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale-Self Rated changes during treatment, and the higher the autism spectrum disorder genetic load, the less the depressive symptoms decreased over time.  Our preliminary results indicated, as expected, that the genomics of the response of patients with major depression to cognitive behavior therapy were complex and that future efforts should aim to maximize sample size and limit subject heterogeneity in order to gain a better understanding of the use of genetic risk factors to predict treatment outcome.

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Andersson E, Crowley JJ, Lindefors N, Ljótsson B, Hedman-Lagerlöf E, Boberg J, El Alaoui S, Karlsson R, Lu Y, Mattheisen M, Kähler AK, Svanborg C, Mataix-Cols D, Mattsson S, Forsell E, Kaldo V, Schalling M, Lavebratt C, Sullivan PF, Rück C. Genetics of response to cognitive behavior therapy in adults with major depression: a preliminary report. Molecular Psychiatry. 2018