Recent genome-wide association studies identified certain human leukocyote antigen (HLA) alleles as the major risk factors of drug-induced liver injuries (DILI). While these alleles often cause large relative risk, their predictive values are quite low due to low prevalence of idiosyncratic DILI. Finding additional risk factors is important for precision medicine. However, optimal design of further genetic studies is hindered by uncertain overall heritability of DILI. This is a common problem for low-prevalence pharmacological traits, since it is difficult to obtain clinical outcome data in families. Here we estimated the heritability (h2) of DILI from case-control genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data using a method based on random effect models. We estimated the proportion of h2 captured by common SNPs for DILI to be between 0.3 and 0.5. For co-amoxiclav induced DILI, chromosome 6 explained part of the heritability, indicating additional contributions from common variants yet to be found. We performed simulations to assess the robustness of the h2 estimate with limited sample size under low prevelance, a condition typical to studies on idiosyncratic pharmacological traits. Our findings suggest that common variants outside of HLA contribute to DILI susceptability; therefore, it is valuable to conduct further GWAS with expanded case collection.
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