OBJECTIVE: The withdrawal of cerivastatin involved an uncommon but serious adverse reaction, rhabdomyolysis. The bimodal response, rhabdomyolysis in a small proportion of users, points to genetic factors as a potential cause. We conducted a case-control study to evaluate genetic markers for cerivastatin-associated rhabdomyolysis. METHODS: This study had two components: a candidate gene study to evaluate variants in CYP2C8, UGT1A1, UGT1A3, and SLCO1B1; and a genome-wide association study to identify risk factors in other regions of the genome. A total of 185 rhabdomyolysis cases were frequency matched to statin-using controls from the Cardiovascular Health Study (n=374) and the Heart and Vascular Health Study (n=358). Validation relied on functional studies. RESULTS: Permutation test results suggested an association between cerivastatin-associated rhabdomyolysis and variants in SLCO1B1 (P=0.002), but not variants in CYP2C8 (P=0.073) or UGTs (P=0.523). An additional copy of the minor allele of SLCO1B1 rs4149056 (p.Val174Ala) was associated with the risk of rhabdomyolysis (odds ratio: 1.89; 95% confidence interval: 1.40-2.56). In transfected cells, this variant reduced cerivastatin transport by 40% compared with the reference transporter (P<0.001). The genome-wide association study identified an intronic variant (rs2819742) in the ryanodine receptor 2 gene (RYR2) as significant (P=1.74E-07). An additional copy of the minor allele of the RYR2 variant was associated with a reduced risk of rhabdomyolysis (odds ratio: 0.48; 95% confidence interval: 0.36-0.63). CONCLUSION: We identified modest genetic risk factors for an extreme response to cerivastatin. Disabling genetic variants in the candidate genes were not responsible for the bimodal response to cerivastatin.
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