Genetics plays a role in drug-induced pancreatitis

X-ray of patient with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Acute pancreatitis is a recognised adverse drug reaction to thiopurine immunosuppressant drugs that affects an estimated 4–7% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

New research identifies a genetic variant in the class II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region that confers increased susceptibility to this reaction.

An initial genome-wide association study identified a significant association at rs2647087 within the class II HLA region; these findings were replicated in an independent cohort and the association was fine-mapped to the HLA-DQA1*02:01–HLA-DRB1*07:01 1 haplotype.

“Patients heterozygous at rs2647087 have a 9% risk of developing pancreatitis after administration of a thiopurine, whereas homozygotes have a 17% risk,” reveal Graham Heap, from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, and colleagues in Nature Genetics
 (online, 17 September 2014). 



[1] Heap GA, Weedon MN, Bewshea CM et al. HLA-DQA1–HLA-DRB1 variants confer susceptibility to pancreatitis induced by thiopurine immunosuppressants. Nature Genetics. doi:10.1038/ng.3093 (accessed 17 September 2014)

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 27 September 2014, Vol 293, No 7829;293(7829):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066515