Little is known about the heritability of chemotherapy activity or the identity of genes that may enable the individualization of cancer chemotherapy. Although numerous genes are likely to influence chemotherapy response, current candidate gene-based pharmacogenetics approaches require a priori knowledge and the selection of a small number of candidate genes for hypothesis testing. In this study, an ex vivo familial genetics strategy using lymphoblastoid cells derived from Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain reference pedigrees was used to discover genetic determinants of chemotherapy cytotoxicity. Cytotoxicity to the mechanistically distinct chemotherapy agents 5-fluorouracil and docetaxel were shown to be heritable traits, with heritability values ranging from 0.26 to 0.65 for 5-fluorouracil and 0.21 to 0.70 for docetaxel, varying with dose. Genome-wide linkage analysis was also used to map a quantitative trait locus influencing the cellular effects of 5-fluorouracil to chromosome 9q13-q22 [logarithm of odds (LOD) = 3.44], and two quantitative trait loci influencing the cellular effects of docetaxel to chromosomes 5q11-21 (LOD = 2.21) and 9q13-q22 (LOD = 2.73). Finally, 5-fluorouracil and docetaxel were shown to cause apoptotic cell death involving caspase-3 cleavage in Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain lymphoblastoid cells. This study identifies genomic regions likely to harbor genes important for chemotherapy cytotoxicity using genome-wide linkage analysis in human pedigrees and provides a widely applicable strategy for pharmacogenomic discovery without the requirement for a priori candidate gene selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11809-11814
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 10 2004


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