Purpose of review: Randomized clinical outcome trials are costly, long, and often yield neutral or modestly positive results, and these issues have impeded cardiovascular drug development in the past decade. Despite the significant reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality with statins, substantial residual risk of major cardiovascular events remains. This could be because of the difficulty of demonstrating benefits of new drugs in addition to the current standard of care in unselected populations as well as the interindividual variability in drug response. Pharmacogenomics is a promising avenue for the development of novel or failed drugs and for the repurposing of other medications.
Recent findings: Several variants were identified in genes that were associated with the effects of statins on plasma lipids. Genomic studies of mutations in genes that encode drug targets have the potential to inform on the link between drug therapy acting on those targets and clinical outcomes. Recently, ADCY9 gene variants were shown to be significantly associated with responses to dalcetrapib in terms of clinical outcomes, atherosclerosis imaging, cholesterol efflux, and inflammation, which provided support for the conduct of a new prospective clinical trial in a genetically determined population.
Summary: Pharmacogenomics hold great potential in future lipid trials to decrease failure rates in drug development and to identify patients who will respond with greater benefits and smaller risk.