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Risk factors for thiopurine-induced myelosuppression and infections in inflammatory bowel disease patients with a normal TPMT genotype

M M T J Broekman, M J H Coenen, G J Wanten, C J van Marrewijk, O H Klungel, A L M Verbeek, P M Hooymans, H-J Guchelaar, H Scheffer, L J J Derijks, D R Wong, D J de Jong
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2017, 46 (10): 953-963

BACKGROUND: Leucopenia is a common side effect in patients treated with thiopurines. Variants in the thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) gene are the best-known risk factor, but only explain up to 25% of leucopenia cases.

AIM: To identify the clinical risk factors for thiopurine-induced leucopenia in patients without a common TPMT variant, and explore if these patients are at increased risk for infections.

METHODS: Post hoc analysis of the Thiopurine response Optimisation by Pharmacogenetic testing in Inflammatory bowel disease Clinics (TOPIC) trial. For this analysis, patients without a variant in TPMT (*2, *3A or*3C) were included. Uni- and multivariate Cox-proportional hazard models were used to identify risk factors for leucopenia and infections. Leucopenia was defined as a white blood cell (WBC) count <3.0 × 109 /L and infections were classified according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events.

RESULTS: Sixty hundred and ninety-five patients (90.6%) included in the TOPIC-trial had no variant in TPMT, of which 45 (6.5%) developed leucopenia. Median time to leucopenia was 56 (29-112) days. Multivariate analysis showed that use of mercaptopurine compared to azathioprine was associated with leucopenia (hazard ratio [HR] 2.61 [95% CIs, 1.39-4.88; P < .01]) and a higher baseline WBC count was protective (HR 0.80 [95% CIs, 0.71-0.89; P < .01]). Risk factors for infections were older age (per 10 year; HR 2.07 [95% CIs, 1.18-3.63; P = .01]) and concomitant use of biologic drugs (HR 2.15 [95% CIs, 1.14-4.07; P = .02]).

CONCLUSIONS: Low baseline WBC count and mercaptopurine, due to a relatively higher dose, were risk factors for thiopurine-induced leucopenia in patients without a TPMT variant.


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