Objective: To determine whether HIV-1 genotyping and expert advice add additional short-term virologic benefit in guiding antiretroviral changes in HIV+ drug-experienced patients.
Design: A two factorial (genotyping and expert advice), randomized, open label, multi-center trial. The patients were stratified according to the number of treatment failures.
Patients and methods: HIV-1 infected patients on stable antiretroviral therapy who presented virological failure were included into the study. Genotypic testing was performed by using TrueGene HIV Genotyping kit and the results were interpreted by a software package (RetroGram, version 1.0). An expert advisory committee suggested the new therapeutic approach based on clinical information alone or on clinical information plus HIV-1 genotyping results. Plasma HIV-1 RNA load, CD4+ cell count and adverse events were recorded at baseline and every 12 weeks.
Results: A total of 326 patients were included. The baseline CD4+ cell count and plasma HIV-1 RNA were 387 (+/- 224) x 10(6) cells/l and 4 (+/- 1) log(10) respectively. The proportion of patients with plasma HIV-1 RNA < 400 copies/ml at 24 weeks differed between genotyping and no genotyping arms (48.5 and 36.2%, P < 0.05). Factors associated with a higher probability of plasma HIV-1 RNA < 400 copies/ml were HIV-1 genotyping [odds ratio (OR), 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-2.8; P = 0.016] and the expert advice in patients failing to a second-line antiretroviral therapy (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.2-8.3; P = 0.016).
Conclusions: HIV-1 genotyping interpreted by a software package improves the virological outcome when it is added to the clinical information as a basis for decisions on changing antiretroviral therapy. The expert advice also showed virologic benefit in the second failure group.