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author:("pesando, Rick")
1.  Determination of HIV-1 coreceptor tropism using proviral DNA in women before and after viral suppression 
An HIV-1 tropism test is recommended prior to CCR5 antagonist administration to exclude patients harboring non-R5 virus from treatment with this class of antiretrovirals. HIV-1 tropism determination based on proviral DNA (pvDNA) may be useful in individuals with plasma viral RNA suppression. We developed a genotypic tropism assay for pvDNA and assessed its performance in a retrospective analysis of samples collected longitudinally.
We randomly selected paired plasma/PBMC samples from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study with plasma viral load ≥5,000 cp/mL at time 1 (T1), undetectable viral load maintained for ≥1 year and CD4+ >200 cells/μL at time 2 (T2). pvDNA was isolated from cryopreserved PBMCs. Sequences were analyzed in triplicate from 49/50 women, with tropism assigned using the geno2pheno (g2p) algorithm. The median time between T1 and T2 was 4.1 years. CXCR4-using virus was detected in 24% of the RNA samples and 33% of the pvDNA samples at T1, compared to 37% of the pvDNA samples at T2. Concordance between plasma RNA and pvDNA tropism was 88% at T1 and 80% at T2. The g2p scores for RNA (T1) vs DNA (T1, T2) were strongly correlated (Spearman rho: 0.85 (T1); 0.78 (T2)). In women with evidence of tropism switch at T2 (either R5 to non-R5 or non-R5 to R5), there was a correlation between change in tropism and time. Mean pvDNA viral load decreased by 0.4 log10 copies/106 cells between T1 and T2 (p < 0.0001), but this decrease was not significantly associated with tropism status.
We demonstrated that pvDNA tropism in women with HIV-1 suppression is concordant with prior RNA tropism results, even after a median time of >4 years. pvDNA tropism testing may be useful to determine eligibility of patients with viral suppression to switch to a CCR5-antagonist based regimen as well as for research purposes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12981-015-0055-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4403710  PMID: 25897314
HIV; Tropism; pvDNA
2.  Quantitative measurement of HER2 expression in breast cancers: comparison with ‘real-world’ routine HER2 testing in a multicenter Collaborative Biomarker Study and correlation with overall survival 
Accurate assessment of HER2 status is critical in determining appropriate therapy for breast cancer patients but the best HER2 testing methodology has yet to be defined. In this study, we compared quantitative HER2 expression by the HERmark™ Breast Cancer Assay (HERmark) with routine HER2 testing by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and correlated HER2 results with overall survival (OS) of breast cancer patients in a multicenter Collaborative Biomarker Study (CBS).
Two hundred and thirty-two formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast cancer tissues and local laboratory HER2 testing results were provided by 11 CBS sites. HERmark assay and central laboratory HER2 IHC retesting were retrospectively performed in a blinded fashion. HER2 results by all testing methods were obtained in 192 cases.
HERmark yielded a continuum of total HER2 expression (H2T) ranging from 0.3 to 403 RF/mm2 (approximately 3 logs). The distribution of H2T levels correlated significantly (P <0.0001) with all routine HER2 testing results. The concordance of positive and negative values (equivocal cases excluded) between HERmark and routine HER2 testing was 84% for local IHC, 96% for central IHC, 85% for local FISH, and 84% for local HER2 status. OS analysis revealed a significant correlation of shorter OS with HER2 positivity by local IHC (HR = 2.6, P = 0.016), central IHC (HR = 3.2, P = 0.015), and HERmark (HR = 5.1, P <0.0001) in this cohort of patients most of whom received no HER2-targeted therapy. The OS curve of discordant low (HER2 positive but H2T low, 10% of all cases) was aligned with concordant negative (HER2 negative and H2T low, HR = 1.9, P = 0.444), but showed a significantly longer OS than concordant positive (HER2 positive and H2T high, HR = 0.31, P = 0.024). Conversely, the OS curve of discordant high (HER2 negative but H2T high, 9% of all cases) was aligned with concordant positive (HR = 0.41, P = 0.105), but showed a significantly shorter OS than concordant negative (HR = 41, P <0.0001).
Quantitative HER2 measurement by HERmark is highly sensitive, accurately quantifies HER2 protein expression and correlates well with routine HER2 testing. When HERmark and local HER2 results were discordant, HERmark more accurately predicted overall survival.
PMCID: PMC4391602  PMID: 25886996
3.  A genotypic HIV-1 proviral DNA coreceptor tropism assay: characterization in viremic subjects 
HIV-1 coreceptor tropism testing is used to evaluate eligibility for CCR5 antagonist therapy. However, HIV-1 RNA-based tests are not suitable for virologically suppressed patients, therefore the use of proviral DNA tropism testing has been investigated. We describe a novel proviral DNA-based genotypic tropism assay and compare its performance to that of a sensitive HIV-1 RNA-based genotypic test.
Tropism was determined using HIV-1 plasma RNA and proviral DNA from 42 paired samples from patients with plasma viral loads ≥1000 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL. Proviral DNA sample types included whole blood, separated peripheral blood mononuclear cells resuspended in phosphate-buffered saline and peripheral blood mononuclear cells resuspended in spun plasma. The HIV-1 envelope V3 region was PCR-amplified, sequenced in triplicate, and analyzed for tropism with the geno2pheno algorithm using a 10% false-positive rate (FPR).
Amplicons were obtained from proviral DNA and plasma RNA in 41/42 samples. Tropism predictions were highly concordant (93%–98%) between proviral DNA and plasma RNA, regardless of the proviral DNA isolation method. Non-R5 proviral DNA results were obtained for 100% of patients with detectable non-R5 plasma HIV-1 RNA results. Geno2pheno FPRs for proviral DNA and plasma RNA were highly correlated (Spearman rho = 0.86).
Our findings demonstrate that proviral DNA tropism determinations from whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells were highly concordant with plasma HIV-1 RNA tropism determinations. This assay may be useful for screening virologically suppressed patients for CCR5-antagonist eligibility and for research purposes.
PMCID: PMC4045881  PMID: 24904682
HIV-1 diagnostic tests; HIV-1 tropism; HIV-1 proviral tropism
4.  A Genotypic Test for HIV-1 Tropism Combining Sanger Sequencing with Ultradeep Sequencing Predicts Virologic Response in Treatment-Experienced Patients 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46334.
A tropism test is required prior to initiation of CCR5 antagonist therapy in HIV-1 infected individuals, as these agents are not effective in patients harboring CXCR4 (X4) coreceptor-using viral variants. We developed a clinical laboratory-based genotypic tropism test for detection of CCR5-using (R5) or X4 variants that utilizes triplicate population sequencing (TPS) followed by ultradeep sequencing (UDS) for samples classified as R5. Tropism was inferred using the bioinformatic algorithms geno2pheno[coreceptor] and PSSMx4r5. Virologic response as a function of tropism readout was retrospectively assessed using blinded samples from treatment-experienced subjects who received maraviroc (N = 327) in the MOTIVATE and A4001029 clinical trials. MOTIVATE patients were classified as R5 and A4001029 patients were classified as non-R5 by the original Trofile test. Virologic response was compared between the R5 and non-R5 groups determined by TPS, UDS alone, the reflex strategy and the Trofile Enhanced Sensitivity (TF-ES) test. UDS had greater sensitivity than TPS to detect minority non-R5 variants. The median log10 viral load change at week 8 was −2.4 for R5 subjects, regardless of the method used for classification; for subjects with non-R5 virus, median changes were −1.2 for TF-ES or the Reflex Test and −1.0 for UDS. The differences between R5 and non-R5 groups were highly significant in all 3 cases (p<0.0001). At week 8, the positive predictive value was 66% for TF-ES and 65% for both the Reflex test and UDS. Negative predictive values were 59% for TF-ES, 58% for the Reflex Test and 61% for UDS. In conclusion, genotypic tropism testing using UDS alone or a reflex strategy separated maraviroc responders and non-responders as well as a sensitive phenotypic test, and both assays showed improved performance compared to TPS alone. Genotypic tropism tests may provide an alternative to phenotypic testing with similar discriminating ability.
PMCID: PMC3459909  PMID: 23029482
5.  A Public Health Model for the Molecular Surveillance of HIV Transmission in San Diego, California 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(2):225-232.
Current public health efforts often use molecular technologies to identify and contain communicable disease networks, but not for HIV. Here, we investigate how molecular epidemiology can be used to identify highly-related HIV networks within a population and how voluntary contact tracing of sexual partners can be used to selectively target these networks.
We evaluated the use of HIV-1 pol sequences obtained from participants of a community-recruited cohort (n=268) and a primary infection research cohort (n=369) to define highly related transmission clusters and the use of contact tracing to link other individuals (n=36) within these clusters. The presence of transmitted drug resistance was interpreted from the pol sequences (Calibrated Population Resistance v3.0).
Phylogenetic clustering was conservatively defined when the genetic distance between any two pol sequences was <1%, which identified 34 distinct transmission clusters within the combined community-recruited and primary infection research cohorts containing 160 individuals. Although sequences from the epidemiologically-linked partners represented approximately 5% of the total sequences, they clustered with 60% of the sequences that clustered from the combined cohorts (O.R. 21.7; p=<0.01). Major resistance to at least one class of antiretroviral medication was found in 19% of clustering sequences.
Phylogenetic methods can be used to identify individuals who are within highly related transmission groups, and contact tracing of epidemiologically-linked partners of recently infected individuals can be used to link into previously-defined transmission groups. These methods could be used to implement selectively targeted prevention interventions.
PMCID: PMC2644048  PMID: 19098493
molecular epidemiology; HIV; surveillance; contact tracing; drug resistance
6.  Active Methamphetamine Use is Associated with Transmitted Drug Resis-tance to Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors in Individuals with HIV Infection of Unknown Duration 
The Open AIDS Journal  2007;1:5-10.
Frequent methamphetamine use among recently HIV infected individuals is associated with transmitted drug resistance (TDR) to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI); however, the reversion time of TDR to drug susceptible HIV may exceed 3 years. We assessed whether recreational substance use is associated with detectable TDR among individuals newly diagnosed with HIV infection of unknown duration.
Cross-sectional analysis.
Subjects were enrolled at the University California, San Diego Early Intervention Program. Demographic, clinical and substance use data were collected using structured interviews. Genotypic resistance testing was performed using GeneSeq™, Monogram Biosciences. We analyzed the association between substance use and TDR using bivariate analyses and the corresponding transmission networks using phylogenetic models.
Between April 2004 and July 2006, 115 individuals with genotype data were enrolled. The prevalence of alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine use were 98%, 71% and 64% respectively. Only active methamphetamine use in the 30 days prior to HIV diagnosis was independently associated with TDR to NNRTI (OR: 6.6; p=0.002).
Despite not knowing the duration of their HIV infection, individuals reporting active methamphetamine use in the 30 days prior to HIV diagnosis are at an increased risk of having HIV strains that are resistant to NNRTI.
PMCID: PMC2556194  PMID: 18923691
HIV; NNRTI; transmitted drug resistance; methamphetamine.

Results 1-6 (6)