Tacrolimus (TAC) is an immunosuppressant widely prescribed following an allogenic organ transplant. Due to wide interindividual pharmacokinetic (PK) variability, optimizing TAC dosing based on genetic factors is required to minimize nephrotoxicity and acute rejections.
We enrolled 1133 participants receiving TAC from 4 cohorts, consisting of 3 with kidney transplant recipients and 1 with healthy males from clinical trials. The effects of clinical factors were estimated to appropriately control confounding variables. A genome-wide association study, haplotype analysis, and a gene-based association test were conducted using the Korea Biobank Array or targeted sequencing for 114 pharmacogenes.
Genome-wide association study verified that CYP3A5*3 is the only common variant associated with TAC PK variability in Koreans. We detected several CYP3A5 and CYP3A4 rare variants that could potentially affect TAC metabolism. The haplotype structure of CYP3A5 stratified by CYP3A5*3 was a significant factor for CYP3A5 rare variant interpretation. CYP3A4 rare variant carriers among CYP3A5 intermediate metabolizers displayed higher TAC trough levels. Gene-based association tests in the 61 absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion genes revealed that CYP1A1 are associated with additional TAC PK variability: CYP1A1 rare variant carriers among CYP3A5 poor metabolizers showed lower TAC trough levels than the noncarrier controls.
Our study demonstrates that rare variant profiling of CYP3A5 and CYP3A4, combined with the haplotype structures of CYP3A locus, provide additive value for personalized TAC dosing. We also identified a novel association between CYP1A1 rare variants and TAC PK variability in the CYP3A5 nonexpressers that needs to be further investigated.