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Pharmacogenetic Mechanisms Underlying Unanticipated Drug Responses


Pharmacogenetics of Antidepressants, Mood Stabilizers, and Antipsychotics in Diverse Human Populations

Abstract: An increasing focus on personalized medicine is driving a renewed effort to understand the impact of ethnic and genetic background on treatment outcomes. Since responses to psychopharmacological treatments continue to be sub-optimal, there is a pressing need to identify markers of tolerability and efficacy. Pharmacogenomic studies aim to find such markers within the human genome, and have made some progress in recent years. Progress has been slower in populations with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Here we review 10 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that assessed outcomes after antidepressant, antipsychotic, or mood stabilizer treatment. These studies used samples collected by the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE), Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D), and Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) studies. We highlight findings from African American and European American participants since they are the largest groups studied, but we also address issues related to Asian and Hispanic groups. None of the GWAS we reviewed identified individual genetic markers at genome-wide significance, probably due to limited sample sizes. However, all the studies found poorer outcomes among African American participants. Some of this disparity seems to be explained by psychosocial and economic disadvantages, but at least 2 studies found that widespread genetic differences between participants of European and African ancestry also play an important role. Non-European groups are underrepresented in these studies, but the differences that are evident so far suggest that poorer outcomes among African Americans are not inevitable and may be particularly suited to pharmacogenomic strategies. The vision of more personalized psychopharmacology may critically depend on larger studies in more diverse human populations. ... Read more

Pharmacogenomics in Childhood Rheumatic Disorders: A Foundation for Future Individualized Therapy

Abstract: Investigating the effect of genotype on drug response in children is an evolving field, with many challenges, but there is great potential to optimize safe and effective use of drugs in children. An exponential increase in available medications for use in children with rheumatic disease has opened seemingly endless genotype/phenotype relationships to explore, but challenges inherent in studying rare diseases and the often overlooked role of ontogeny contribute to limitations in pharmacogenomic studies in this population. With careful recognition of the importance of development, improved phenotyping with the incorporation of biomarkers, and expanding collaborative efforts on a national and even international scale, the field of pediatric rheumatology has the opportunity to strategically study the new therapeutic armamentarium available and provide individualized safe and effective therapies to our population of patients. ... Read more

Pharmacogenomics, Personalized Medicine, and Heart Failure

Abstract: Heart failure, a major clinical problem affecting millions of people, may be modified by the genetic diversity of the affected individuals. A novel medical approach, personalized medicine, seeks to use genetic information to "personalize" and improve diagnosis, prevention, and therapy. The personalized management of heart failure involves a large spectrum of potential applications, from diagnostics of monogenic disorders, to prevention and management strategies based on modifier genes, to pharmacogenomics. In rare monogenic disorders causing heart failure, recent guidelines now assist the clinician in molecular diagnostics, genetic counseling, and therapeutic choices. Several lines of evidence suggest that common polymorphic variants of modifier genes can influence the susceptibility to heart failure, and it is expected that more advanced high throughput technologies will allow the discovery of a number of novel modifier genes that could be used for prognostic profiling and development of novel therapeutics. Finally, using pharmacogenomic approaches to affect heart failure management appears very promising. Common genetic variants of beta-adrenergic receptors, alpha-adrenergic receptors, and endothelin receptors among others significantly alter the response to heart failure therapy. This knowledge could be used to personalize and optimize heart failure therapy based on the patient's genetic profile. While the advances in technologies will continue to transition personalized medicine from the research to the clinical setting, physicians and in particular cardiologists need to reshape clinical diagnostics paradigms, learn how to use new genomic information to change management decisions, and provide the patients with appropriate education and management recommendations. ... Read more

Statin Pharmacogenomics: Pursuing Biomarkers for Predicting Clinical Outcomes

Abstract: Indicated for treating hyperlipidemias and for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), statins rank among the most commonly prescribed drug classes. While statins are considered to be highly effective in preventing atherosclerotic events, a substantial portion of treated patients still progress to overt CVD. Genetic factors are thought to contribute substantially to treatment outcome. Several candidate genes have been associated with statin dose requirements and treatment outcomes, but a clinically relevant pharmacogenomics test to guide statin therapy has not yet emerged. Here we define basic pharmacogenomics terminology, present strong candidate genes (CETP, HMGCR, SLCO1B1, ABCB1, and CYP3A4/5), and discuss the challenges in developing much-needed statin pharmacogenomics biomarkers for predicting treatment outcomes. ... Read more

Transporter Pharmacogenetics: Transporter Polymorphisms Affect Normal Physiology, Diseases, and Pharmacotherapy

Abstract: Drug transporters mediate the movement of endobiotics and xenobiotics across biological membranes in multiple organs and in most tissues. As such, they are involved in physiology, development of disease, drug pharmacokinetics, and ultimately the clinical response to a myriad of medications. Genetic variants in transporters cause population-specific differences in drug transport and are responsible for considerable inter-individual variation in physiology and pharmacotherapy. The purpose of this review is to provide a broad overview of how inherited variants in transporters are associated with disease etiology, disease state, and the pharmacological treatment of diseases. Given that there are thousands of published papers related to the interplay between transporter genetics and medicine, this review will provide examples that exemplify the broader focus of the literature. ... Read more

A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind Study Assessing the Clinical Impact of Integrated Pharmacogenomic Testing for Major Depressive Disorder

Abstract: Objective: A prospective double-blind randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate the benefit of a combinatorial, five gene pharmacogenomic test and interpretive report (GeneSight) for the management of psychotropic medications used in the treatment of major depression in an outpatient psychiatric practice. Methods: Depressed adult outpatients were randomized to a treatment as usual (TAU, n=25) arm or a pharmacogenomic-informed GeneSight (n=26) arm. Subjects were blinded to their treatment group and depression severity was assessed by blinded study raters. Within two days of enrollment, clinicians of subjects in the guided group received the GeneSight report that categorized each of 26 psychotropic medications within a green, yellow, or red "bin" based on the relationship of each medication to a subject's pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic combinatorial gene variant profile. Antidepressant medication changes began within 2 weeks after baseline assessments. Depression severity was assessed by blinded study raters using the HAMD-17, PHQ-9, QIDS-SR, and QIDS-CR administered 4, 6, and 10 weeks after baseline assessment. Results: Between-group trends were observed with greater than double the likelihood of response and remission in the GeneSight group measured by HAMD-17 at week 10. Mean percent improvement in depressive symptoms on HAMD-17 was higher for the GeneSight group over TAU (30.8% vs 20.7%; p=0.28). TAU subjects who had been prescribed medications at baseline that were contraindicated based on the individual subject's genotype (i.e., red bin) had almost no improvement (0.8%) in depressive symptoms measured by HAMD-17 at week 10, which was far less than the 33.1% improvement (p=0.06) in the pharmacogenomic guided subjects who started on a red bin medication and the 26.4% improvement in GeneSight subjects overall (p=0.08). Conclusions: Pharmacogenomic-guided treatment with GeneSight doubles the likelihood of response in all patients with treatment resistant depression and identifies 30% of patients with severe gene-drug interactions who have the greatest improvement in depressive symptoms when switched to genetically suitable medication regimens. ... Read more

Pharmacogenomics in Ophthalmology

Abstract: Inter-individual variation in drug response and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are well known in medicine. This individual variation in drug response could be at least, in part, due to genetic diversity among individuals. Although substantial studies that connect genetic variants to inter-individual variation in drug response have been documented in several diseases such as cancer and heart diseases, such studies are slowly progressing in ophthalmology. In recent years, advancement in technologies has led to the identification of genes associated with several eye disorders. At the same time, some small-scale studies have demonstrated the association of various genotypes or haplotypes with response to drug therapies. However, its integration into clinical practice in ophthalmology is not possible at present. This is because there are many challenging questions that remain to be addressed. For instance, in the case of complex disorders a single gene study is not enough. Multiple genes, environmental factors, multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and rare or low frequency variants may contribute to the disease and they must be considered. The functional aspects of many genetic variants are not known. This raises questions of their biological importance and their clinical usefulness. In addition, there are legal, ethical, and social issues that need to be regulated. Moreover, physicians and patients must be educated about the limitation and sensitivity of genetic testing. At present pharmacogenetic studies in ophthalmology are still in their infancy and do not suggest that a pharmacogenetic basis of drug development in ophthalmology is a concept that can yield immediate results, but can become a reality in the future. In this article an attempt has been made to summarize some of the recent small-scale pharmacogenetic studies on two major eye disorders, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. ... Read more

Integration of Genomics into Medical Practice

Abstract: Although some have wondered whether the sequencing of the human genome has led to major advances in medicine, in fact there are multiple examples where genomics has been integrated into medical practice. In the area of prevention, genomic approaches are now used for non-invasive prenatal testing of fetal DNA in the maternal circulation, for expanded preconceptional screening for carrier status, for autosomal recessive disorders, and for assessment of risk of common disease. In the area of diagnosis, major advances have been made in cytogenomics and in use of whole exome or whole genome sequencing. In therapeutics, pharmacogenetic testing is now feasible, tumor genome sequencing is being used to guide cancer therapy, and genomic discoveries are enabling development of new targeted therapies. Ultimately it is possible that genome sequencing may be done for all individuals on a routine basis, though there remain significant technical, ethical, and medical systems challenges to be overcome. It is likely that integration of genomics into medical practice will occur gradually over a long period of time, but the process is now well underway. ... Read more

What Is the Role and Impact of Molecular Markers on Treatment Decisions for Colorectal Cancer in the Adjuvant Setting?

Abstract: The new mantra for delivering optimal cancer treatment is "personalized care." This extends beyond the holistic to using germline and somatic tumoral mutations to link a specific therapy to some prognostic or predictive factor which defines a particularly responsive patient subgroup who might benefit most from treatment. Furthermore, inherited polymorphisms have the potential to greatly modulate the side effects of treatment, especially for chemotherapy which has a notoriously narrow therapeutic window (Walther et al., 2009). ... Read more

Pharmacogenomics: Bench to Bedside

Abstract: Pharmacogenetics, or pharmacogenomics, studies how a person's genetic makeup affects the person's response to drugs, holding out promise for medicine that caters to an individual's genomic makeup. Individualized medicine would be a paradigm shift from the current, centuries-old industry practice. Science, growing awareness of patients' needs, the hesitant but increasingly interested pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies are forging a movement towards personalization of drug treatments. ... Read more

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