Background: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors reduce clinical symptoms and improve outcome in patients with hypertension, heart failure, and stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and are among the most frequently used drugs in these patient groups. For hypertension, treatment is guided by the level of blood pressure. In the secondary prevention setting, there are no means of guiding therapy. Prior attempts to target ACE-inhibitors to those patients that are most likely to benefit have not been successful, mainly due to the consistency in the treatment effect in clinical subgroups. Still, for prolonged prophylactic treatment with ACE-inhibitors it would be best to target treatment to only those patients most likely to benefit, which would considerably lower the number needed to treat and increase cost-effectiveness. A new approach for such "tailored-therapy" may be to integrate information on the genetic variation between patients. Until now, pharmacogenetic research of the efficacy of ACE-inhibitor therapy in CAD patients is still in a preliminary stage. Methods: The PERindopril GENEtic association study (PERGENE) is a substudy of the EUROPA trial, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre clinical trial which demonstrated a beneficial effect of the ACE-inhibitor perindopril in reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in 12.218 patients with stable coronary artery disease (mean follow-up 4.2 years). Blood tubes were received from patients at the beginning of the EUROPA trial and buffy coats were stored at -40°C at the central core laboratory. Candidate genes were selected in the renin-angiotensin-system and bradykinin pathways. Polymorphisms were selected based on haplotype tagging principles using the HapMap genome project, Seattle and other up-to-date genetic database platforms to comprehensively cover all common genetic variation within the genes. Selection also took into consideration the functionality of SNP's, location within the gene (promoter) and existing relevant literature. The main outcome measure of PERGENE is the effect of genetic factors on the treatment benefit with ACE-inhibitors. The size of this pharmacogenetic substudy allows detection with a statistical power of 98% to detect a difference in hazard ratios (treatment effect) of 20% between genotypes with minor allele frequency of 0.20 (two-sided alpha 0.05). Conclusion: The PERGENE study is a large cardiovascular pharmacogenetic study aimed to assess the feasibility of pharmacogenetic profiling of the treatment effect of ACE-inhibitor use with the perspective to individualize treatment in patients with stable coronary artery disease.

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Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Brugts, J., de Maat, M., Boersma, E., Witteman, J., van Duijn, C., Uitterlinden, A., … Simoons, M. (2009). The rationale and design of the perindopril genetic association study (PERGENE): A pharmacogenetic analysis of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy in patients with stable coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, 23(2), 171–181. doi:10.1007/s10557-008-6156-1