HIV-1 genetic variability may influence antiretroviral therapy (ART) outcomes. The study aim was to determine the impact of polymorphisms in regions known to harbor major nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance mutations (codons 90–108, 135–138, 179–190, 225–348) on virologic responses to first-line NNRTI-based ART.
Reverse transcriptase sequences from ART-naive individuals who commenced efavirenz (EFV) or nevirapine (NVP) with at least two nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) without major drug resistance mutations were analyzed. The impact of polymorphisms on week 4 viral load decrease and time to virologic failure was measured over a median 97 weeks.
Among 4528 patients, most were infected with HIV-1 subtype B (67%) and commenced EFV-based ART (84%). Overall, 2598 (57%) had at least one polymorphism, most frequently at codons 90, 98, 101, 103, 106, 135, 138, 179, and 238. Virologic failure rates were increased in patients with two (n = 597) or more than two (n = 72) polymorphisms [adjusted hazard ratio 1.43; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.92; P = 0.016]. Polymorphisms associated with virologic failure occurred at codons 90 (mostly V90I), 98 (mostly A98S), and 103 (mostly K103R), with adjusted hazard ratios of 1.78 (1.15–2.73; P = 0.009), 1.55 (1.16–2.08; P = 0.003), and 1.75 (1.00–3.05: P = 0.049), respectively. Polymorphisms at codon 179, especially V179D/E/T, predicted reduced week 4 responses (P = 0.001) but not virologic failure.
The occurrence of multiple polymorphisms, though uncommon, was associated with a small increase in the risk of NNRTI treatment failure; significant effects were seen with polymorphisms at codon 90, 98, and 103. The mechanisms underlying the slower suppression seen with V179D/E/T deserve further investigation.