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CYP3A5 polymorphisms in renal transplant recipients: influence on tacrolimus treatment

Authors Chen L, Prasad GV

Received 8 November 2017

Accepted for publication 5 January 2018

Published 7 March 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 23—33

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PGPM.S107710

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin Bluth


Lucy Chen,1 G V Ramesh Prasad2

1Kidney Transplant Program, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Division of Nephrology, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada


Abstract: Tacrolimus is a commonly used immunosuppressant after kidney transplantation. It has a narrow therapeutic range and demonstrates wide interindividual variability in pharmacokinetics, leading to potential underimmunosuppression or toxicity. Genetic polymorphism in CYP3A5 enzyme expression contributes to differences in tacrolimus bioavailability between individuals. Individuals carrying one or more copies of the wild-type allele *1 express CYP3A5, which increases tacrolimus clearance. CYP3A5 expressers require 1.5 to 2-fold higher tacrolimus doses compared to usual dosing to achieve therapeutic blood concentrations. Individuals with homozygous *3/*3 genotype are CYP3A5 nonexpressers. CYP3A5 nonexpression is the most frequent phenotype in most ethnic populations, except blacks. Differences between CYP3A5 genotypes in tacrolimus disposition have not translated into differences in clinical outcomes, such as acute rejection and graft survival. Therefore, although genotype-based dosing may improve achievement of therapeutic drug concentrations with empiric dosing, its role in clinical practice is unclear. CYP3A5 genotype may predict differences in absorption of extended-release and immediate-release oral formulations of tacrolimus. Two studies found that CYP3A5 expressers require higher doses of tacrolimus in the extended-release formulation compared to immediate release. CYP3A5 genotype plays a role in determining the impact of interacting drugs, such as fluconazole, on tacrolimus pharmacokinetics. Evidence conflicts regarding the impact of CYP3A5 genotype on risk of nephrotoxicity associated with tacrolimus. Further study is required.

Keywords: calcineurin inhibitor, graft, pharmacogenomics, kidney, genotype

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