Objectives: Major protease mutations are rarely observed following first-line failure with PIs and interpretation of genotyping results in this context may be difficult. We performed extensive phenotyping of viruses from five patients failing lopinavir/ritonavir monotherapy in the MONARK study without major PI mutations by standard genotyping. Methods: Phenotypic susceptibility testing and viral infectivity assessments were performed using a single-cycle assay and fold changes (FC) relative to a lopinavir-susceptible reference strain were calculated. Results: >10-fold reduced baseline susceptibility to lopinavir occurred in two of five patients and >5-fold in another two. Four of five patients exhibited phylogenetic evidence of a limited viral evolution between baseline and failure, with amino acid changes at drug resistance-associated positions in one: T81A emerged in Gag with M36I in the protease gene, correlating with a reduction in lopinavir susceptibility from FC 7 (95% CI 6-8.35) to FC 13 (95% CI 8.11-17.8). Reductions in darunavir susceptibility (>5 FC) occurred in three individuals. Discussion: This study suggests both baseline reduced susceptibility and evolution of resistance could be contributing factors to PI failure, despite the absence of classical PI resistance mutations by standard testing methods. Use of phenotyping also reveals lower darunavir susceptibility, warranting further study as this agent is commonly used following lopinavir failure.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by the Wellcome Trust and supported by a grant from AbbVie Laboratories. R. K. G. is funded by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship (WT093722MA). K. A. S. was funded by Public Health England (formerly the Health Protection Agency).
© The Author 2014.
- Antiretroviral resistance
- Protease inhibitors