Background: Resistance testing is considered standard of care in HIV medicine, but there is no standard interpretation system for genotype tests. We sought to determine how much agreement exists within a group of experts in the interpretation of complex genotypes.
Methods: Genotypes from clinical specimens were sent to an international panel of 12 resistance experts. Phenotypic susceptibility testing of these clinical isolates was performed with antivirogram. Experts predicted phenotype fold change category (<2.5-fold change, 2.5-4.0-fold change, >4.0- to 7.0-fold change, >7.0- to 10-fold change, >10- to 20-fold change, or >20-fold change) and predicted expected drug activity for each of 16 antiretroviral drugs. Experts were also asked to make treatment recommendations on the basis of the genotype.
Results: The experts predicted the exact phenotype fold change category correctly 44% of the time, but they varied widely by antiretroviral drug (range, 25%-74%). The highest accuracy was observed for lamivudine (74%) and the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (66%-69%). Experts generally predicted higher levels of resistance to the remaining nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors than what was found by phenotypic testing. Agreement among experts in predicting phenotype fold change category ranged widely depending on the drug (median agreement, 42% [range, 28%-74%]); the same pattern was observed in predicting expected drug activity (median agreement, 45% [range, 32%-87%]). Experts agreed on treatment recommendations in a median of 79% of instances, and recommendations were consistent over time, with blinded retesting.
Conclusions: Although their ability to predict phenotype from a genotype varied for individual antiretroviral drugs, this expert panel had a high degree of agreement in deriving treatment recommendations from the genotype.