Cytochrome P450 3A polymorphisms and immunosuppressive drugs: an update

Pharmacogenomics. 2007 Jul;8(7):835-49. doi: 10.2217/14622416.8.7.835.


Among the immunosuppressive drugs currently used in solid-organ transplantation, the calcineurin inhibitors cyclosporine and tacrolimus, and the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors sirolimus and everolimus, may be difficult to use because of large interindividual variability in their pharmacokinetic characteristics and a narrow therapeutic index. The promise of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics is to elucidate the inherited basis of differences between individual responses to drugs, in order to identify the right drug and dose for each patient. As cytochrome P450 (CYP)3A4 and CYP3A5 are both involved in the metabolism of these drugs, the consequences of the polymorphism of these genes have been studied. It has been recently shown that the CYP3A5*3 polymorphism is associated with pharmacokinetics of tacrolimus and sirolimus. The association between the CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 polymorphisms and cyclosporine pharmacokinetics is more questionable. It is now of utmost importance to prospectively test these initial results to improve the individualized use of these drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / genetics*
  • Frameshift Mutation
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A