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Carbamazepine causes various forms of hypersensitivity reactions, ranging from maculopapular exanthema to severe blistering reactions. The HLA-B*1502 allele has been shown to be strongly correlated with carbamazepine-induced Stevens–Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS–TEN) in the Han Chinese and other Asian populations but not in European populations.
We performed a genomewide association study of samples obtained from 22 subjects with carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity syndrome, 43 subjects with carbamazepine- induced maculopapular exanthema, and 3987 control subjects, all of European descent. We tested for an association between disease and HLA alleles through proxy single-nucleotide polymorphisms and imputation, confirming associations by high-resolution sequence-based HLA typing. We replicated the associations in samples from 145 subjects with carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity reactions.
The HLA-A*3101 allele, which has a prevalence of 2 to 5% in Northern European populations, was significantly associated with the hypersensitivity syndrome (P = 3.5×10−8). An independent genomewide association study of samples from subjects with maculopapular exanthema also showed an association with the HLAA* 3101 allele (P = 1.1×10−6). Follow-up genotyping confirmed the variant as a risk factor for the hypersensitivity syndrome (odds ratio, 12.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.27 to 121.03), maculopapular exanthema (odds ratio, 8.33; 95% CI, 3.59 to 19.36), and SJS–TEN (odds ratio, 25.93; 95% CI, 4.93 to 116.18).
The presence of the HLA-A*3101 allele was associated with carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity reactions among subjects of Northern European ancestry. The presence of the allele increased the risk from 5.0% to 26.0%, whereas its absence reduced the risk from 5.0% to 3.8%. (Funded by the U.K. Department of Health and others.)