Determining the genetic basis of anthracycline-cardiotoxicity by molecular response QTL mapping in induced cardiomyocytes

Elife. 2018 May 8;7:e33480. doi: 10.7554/eLife.33480.


Anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity (ACT) is a key limiting factor in setting optimal chemotherapy regimes, with almost half of patients expected to develop congestive heart failure given high doses. However, the genetic basis of sensitivity to anthracyclines remains unclear. We created a panel of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from 45 individuals and performed RNA-seq after 24 hr exposure to varying doxorubicin dosages. The transcriptomic response is substantial: the majority of genes are differentially expressed and over 6000 genes show evidence of differential splicing, the later driven by reduced splicing fidelity in the presence of doxorubicin. We show that inter-individual variation in transcriptional response is predictive of in vitro cell damage, which in turn is associated with in vivo ACT risk. We detect 447 response-expression quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and 42 response-splicing QTLs, which are enriched in lower ACT GWAS [Formula: see text]-values, supporting the in vivo relevance of our map of genetic regulation of cellular response to anthracyclines.

Keywords: Doxorubicin; anthracycline-induced toxicity; evolutionary biology; genetics; genomics; human; human biology; iPSC-derived differentiated cells; medicine; oxidative damage; response expression QTL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthracyclines / toxicity*
  • Cardiotoxicity*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Doxorubicin / toxicity
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • Anthracyclines
  • Doxorubicin