Thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) is an enzyme that catalyzes the S-methylation of thiopurine drugs such as 6-mercaptopurine, 6-thioguanine, and azathioprine. TPMT activity exhibits an interindividual variability mainly a result of genetic polymorphism. Patients with intermediate or deficient TPMT activity are at risk for toxicity after receiving standard doses of thiopurine drugs. It has previously been reported that 3 variant alleles:TPMT*2, *3A, and *3C are responsible for over 95% cases of lower enzyme activity. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of TPMT variant alleles in a Polish population. DNA samples were obtained from 358 unrelated healthy Polish subjects of white origin, and TPMT genetic polymorphism was determined using PCR-RFLP and allele-specific PCR methods. The results showed that allelic frequencies were 0.4% for TPMT*2, 2.7% for TPMT*3A, and 0.1% for TPMT*3C, respectively. A TPMT*3B allele was not found in the studied population. The general pattern of TPMT allele disposition in the Polish population is similar to those determined for other white populations, but the frequency of total variant alleles is lower than in other European populations studied to date.
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