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Mazzotta Francesco; Lo Caputo, Sergio; Torti, Carlo; Tinelli, Carmine; Pierotti, Piera; Castelli, Francesco; Lazzarin, Adriano; Angarano, Gioacchino; Maserati, Renato; Gianotti, Nicola; Ladisa, Nicoletta; Quiros-Roldan, Eugenia; Rinehart, Alex R.; Carosi, Giampiero; for the Genotipo-Fenotipo di Resistenza (GenPheRex) Group of the Italian Management Standardizzato di Terapia Antiretrovirale (MASTER) Cohort
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: March 1st, 2003

Summary:We compared viroimmunologic response after real phenotype (r-PHT) versus virtual phenotype (v-PHT) in patients failing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). A total of 201 patients with >2 years of exposure, more than six experienced drugs. >1000 HIV RNA copies/mL, and on stable HAART for >6 months were randomized to the r-PHT or v-PHT arm. The primary end point was the proportion of HIV plasma viral load (pVL) <400 copies/mL. Secondary end points were absolute pVL change, proportion of pVL reduction >0.5 log10 copies/mL, and absolute CD4 cell change. In the intention-to-treat-last observation carried forward analysis, study outcomes were not significantly different between arms over 48 weeks of follow-up: 20% and 24% pVL <400 copies/mL; 58% and 61% pVL reduction >0.5 log10 copies/mL; -0.92 and -0.94 log10 copies/mL mean pVL decrease; and +41.6 and +94.4 cells/mm3 mean absolute CD4 increase in the r-PHT and v-PHT arms, respectively. On-treatment analyses gave similar results. In the multivariate analysis of pVL <400 copies/mL, the following covariates were independent predictors at week 48: adherence (OR = 0.25; p = .002), baseline CD4 (OR = 4.39; p = .007), intravenous drug use as risk factor for HIV acquisition (OR = 0.33; p = .024), and sensitivity score of the new regimens by biologic cut-offs (OR = 1.84; p = .029). Prescribed drugs for which patients were naive resulted in marginal prediction (OR = 1.93; p = .054). In conclusion, virologic and immunologic outcomes did not differ when r-PHT or v-PHT was used in this cohort of heavily pretreated patients. Several factors should be considered to take better advantage of resistance testing, including treatment history, clinical status, and patients’ ability to adhere to treatment.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Giampiero Carosi, Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia, P. le Spedali Civili, 125123 Brescia, Italy; e-mail:

Manuscript received October 19, 2002; accepted January 17, 2003.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.