Pharmacogenetic associations with plasma efavirenz concentrations and clinical correlates in a retrospective cohort of Ghanaian HIV-infected patients

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2014 Feb;69(2):491-9. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkt372. Epub 2013 Sep 29.


Objectives: Efavirenz is widely used in first-line antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa. However, exposure to efavirenz shows marked interindividual variability that is genetically mediated with potential for important pharmacodynamic consequences. The aims of this study were to assess the frequencies of CYP2B6, CYP2A6, UGT2B7 and CAR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their impact on plasma efavirenz concentration and clinical/immunological responses in Ghanaian patients.

Methods: Genomic DNA from 800 HIV-infected patients was genotyped for selected SNPs by real-time PCR-based allelic discrimination. Mid-dose plasma efavirenz concentrations were measured for 521 patients using HPLC with UV detection. Clinical outcomes in 299 patients on efavirenz were retrospectively assessed. Univariate and multivariate linear regression were performed using best subset selection. Time-to-event outcomes were analysed using a Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Results: The variant allele frequencies for CYP2B6 516G>T (rs3745274), CYP2B6 983T>C (rs28399499), CYP2A6 -48T>G (CYP2B6*9B; rs28399433), UGT2B7 802C>T (UGT2B7*2; rs7439366), UGT2B7 735A>G (UGT2B7*1c; rs28365062) and CAR 540C>T (rs2307424) were 48%, 4%, 3%, 23%, 15% and 7%, respectively. CYP2B6 516G>T, CYP2B6 983T>C and CYP2A6 -48T>G were associated with significantly elevated efavirenz concentrations. A trend towards association between plasma efavirenz concentration and CAR 540C>T was observed. CYP2B6 516G homozygosity was associated with immunological failure [adjusted hazards ratio compared with T homozygosity, 1.70 (1.04-2.76); P = 0.03].

Conclusions: CYP2B6 and CYP2A6 SNPs were associated with higher plasma efavirenz concentrations due to reduction in major and minor phase I routes of elimination, respectively. Further prospective studies are needed to validate the pharmacodynamic correlates of these polymorphisms in this population.

Keywords: Africa; non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alkynes
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / genetics
  • Benzoxazines / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2A6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Alkynes
  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP2A6 protein, human
  • CYP2B6 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2A6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6
  • UGT2B7 protein, human
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • efavirenz