After heart transplantation (HTx), the interindividual pharmacokinetic variability of immunosuppressive drugs represents a major therapeutic challenge due to the narrow therapeutic window between over-immunosuppression causing toxicity and under-immunosuppression leading to graft rejection. Although genetic polymorphisms have been shown to influence pharmacokinetics of immunosuppressants, data in the context of HTx are scarce. We thus assessed the role of genetic variation in CYP3A4, CYP3A5, POR, NR1I2, and ABCB1 acting jointly in immunosuppressive drug pathways in tacrolimus (TAC) and ciclosporin (CSA) dose requirement in HTx recipients.
Associations between 7 functional genetic variants and blood dose-adjusted trough (C0) concentrations of TAC and CSA at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after HTx were evaluated in cohorts of 52 and 45 patients, respectively.
Compared with CYP3A5 nonexpressors (*3/*3 genotype), CYP3A5 expressors (*1/*3 or *1/*1 genotype) required around 2.2- to 2.6-fold higher daily TAC doses to reach the targeted C0 concentration at all studied time points (P ≤ 0.003). Additionally, the POR*28 variant carriers showed higher dose-adjusted TAC-C0 concentrations at all time points resulting in significant differences at 3 (P = 0.025) and 6 months (P = 0.047) after HTx. No significant associations were observed between the genetic variants and the CSA dose requirement.
The CYP3A5*3 variant has a major influence on the required TAC dose in HTx recipients, whereas the POR*28 may additionally contribute to the observed variability. These results support the importance of genetic markers in TAC dose optimization after HTx.