A gene risk score using missense variants in SLCO1B1 is associated with earlier onset statin intolerance

Margherita Bigossi, Cyrielle Maroteau, Adem Y. Dawed, Alasdair Taylor, Sundararajan Srinivasan, Alaa' Lufti Melhem, Ewan R. Pearson, Roberto Pola, Colin N. A. Palmer, Moneeza K. Siddiqui (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background and aims: The efficacy of statin therapy is hindered by intolerance to the therapy, leading to discontinuation. Variants in SLCO1B1, which encodes the hepatic transporter OATB1B1, influence statin pharmacokinetics, resulting in altered plasma concentrations of the drug and its metabolites. Current pharmacogenetic guidelines require sequencing of the SLCO1B1 gene, which is more expensive and less accessible than genotyping. In this study, we aimed to develop an easy, clinically implementable functional gene risk score (GRS) of common variants in SLCO1B1 to identify patients at risk of statin intolerance.

Methods and results: A GRS was developed from four common variants in SLCO1B1. In statin users from Tayside, Scotland, UK, those with a high-risk GRS had increased odds across three phenotypes of statin intolerance [general statin intolerance (GSI): ORGSI 2.42; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29-4.31, P = 0.003; statin-related myopathy: ORSRM 2.51; 95% CI: 1.28-4.53, P = 0.004; statin-related suspected rhabdomyolysis: ORSRSR 2.85; 95% CI: 1.03-6.65, P = 0.02]. In contrast, using the Val174Ala genotype alone or the recommended OATP1B1 functional phenotypes produced weaker and less reliable results. A meta-analysis with results from adjudicated cases of statin-induced myopathy in the PREDICTION-ADR Consortium confirmed these findings (ORVal174Ala 1.99; 95% CI: 1.01-3.95, P = 0.048; ORGRS 1.76; 95% CI: 1.16-2.69, P = 0.008). For those requiring high-dose statin therapy, the high-risk GRS was more consistently associated with the time to onset of statin intolerance amongst the three phenotypes compared with Val174Ala (GSI: HRVal174Ala 2.49; 95% CI: 1.09-5.68, P = 0.03; HRGRS 2.44; 95% CI: 1.46-4.08, P < 0.001). Finally, sequence kernel association testing confirmed that rare variants in SLCO1B1 are associated with the risk of intolerance (P = 0.02).

Conclusion: We provide evidence that a GRS based on four common SLCO1B1 variants provides an easily implemented genetic tool that is more reliable than the current recommended practice in estimating the risk and predicting early-onset statin intolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536–545
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Heart Journal: Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy
Issue number6
Early online date30 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Pharmacogenomics
  • SLCO1B1
  • Statins
  • Adverse drug reactions
  • Precision medicine
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms


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