Decreasing population selection rates of resistance mutation K65R over time in HIV-1 patients receiving combination therapy including tenofovir

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2013 Feb;68(2):419-23. doi: 10.1093/jac/dks380. Epub 2012 Sep 30.


Objectives: The use of tenofovir is highly associated with the emergence of mutation K65R, which confers broad resistance to nucleoside/nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), especially when tenofovir is combined with other NRTIs also selecting for K65R. Although recent HIV-1 treatment guidelines discouraging these combinations resulted in reduced K65R selection with tenofovir, updated information on the impact of currently recommended regimens on the population selection rate of K65R is presently lacking.

Methods: In this study, we evaluated changes over time in the selection rate of resistance mutation K65R in a large population of 2736 HIV-1-infected patients failing combination antiretroviral treatment between 2002 and 2010.

Results: The K65R resistance mutation was detected in 144 patients, a prevalence of 5.3%. A large majority of observed K65R cases were explained by the use of tenofovir, reflecting its wide use in clinical practice. However, changing patterns over time in NRTIs accompanying tenofovir resulted in a persistent decreasing probability of K65R selection by tenofovir-based therapy. The currently recommended NRTI combination tenofovir/emtricitabine was associated with a low probability of K65R emergence. For any given dual NRTI combination including tenofovir, higher selection rates of K65R were consistently observed with a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor than with a protease inhibitor as the third agent.

Discussion: Our finding of a stable time trend of K65R despite elevated use of tenofovir illustrates increased potency of current HIV-1 therapy including tenofovir.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / administration & dosage
  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / methods
  • Drug Resistance, Viral*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase / genetics
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Organophosphonates / administration & dosage*
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Tenofovir
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Failure


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Organophosphonates
  • Tenofovir
  • reverse transcriptase, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • Adenine