Clinically actionable genotypes for anticancer prescribing among >1500 patients with pharmacogenomic testing

Cancer. 2022 Apr 15;128(8):1649-1657. doi: 10.1002/cncr.34104. Epub 2022 Jan 28.


Background: In recent years, there has been increasing evidence supporting the role of germline pharmacogenomic factors predicting toxicity for anticancer therapies. Although somatic genomic data are used frequently in oncology care planning, germline pharmacogenomic testing is not. This study hypothesizes that comprehensive germline pharmacogenomic profiling could have high relevance for cancer care.

Methods: Between January 2011 and August 2020, patients at the University of Chicago Medical Center were genotyped across custom germline pharmacogenomic panels for reasons unrelated to cancer care. Actionable anticancer pharmacogenomic gene/drug interactions identified by the FDA were defined including: CYP2C9 (erdafitinib), CYP2D6 (gefitinib), DPYD (5-fluorouracil and capecitabine), TPMT (thioguanine and mercaptopurine), and UGT1A1 (belinostat, irinotecan, nilotinib, pazopanib, and sacituzumab-govitecan hziy). The primary objective was to determine the frequency of individuals with actionable or high-risk genotypes across these 5 key pharmacogenes, thus potentially impacting prescribing for at least 1 of these 11 commonly prescribed anticancer therapies.

Results: Data from a total of 1586 genotyped individuals were analyzed. The oncology pharmacogene with the highest prevalence of high-risk, actionable genotypes was UGT1A1, impacting 17% of genotyped individuals. Actionable TPMT and DPYD genotypes were found in 9% and 4% of patients, respectively. Overall, nearly one-third of patients genotyped across all 5 genes (161/525, 31%) had at least one actionable genotype.

Conclusions: These data suggest that germline pharmacogenomic testing for 5 key pharmacogenes could identify a substantial proportion of patients at risk with standard dosing, an estimated impact similar to that of somatic genomic profiling.

Lay summary: Differences in our genes may explain why some drugs work safely in certain individuals but can cause side effects in others. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genetic variations affect an individual's response to medications. In this study, an evaluation was done for important genetic variations that can affect the tolerability of anticancer therapy. By analyzing the genetic results of >1500 patients, it was found that nearly one-third have genetic variations that could alter recommendations of what drug, or how much of, an anticancer therapy they should be given. Performing pharmacogenomic testing before prescribing could help to guide personalized oncology care.

Keywords: cancer; chemotherapy; oncology; pharmacogenomics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Pharmacogenomic Testing* / methods


  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6