To determine protease mutations that develop at viral failure for protease inhibitor (PI)-naive patients on a regimen containing the PI atazanavir.
Resistance tests on patients failing atazanavir, conducted as part of routine clinical care in a multicentre observational study, were randomly matched by subtype to resistance tests from PI-naive controls to account for natural polymorphisms. Mutations from the consensus B sequence across the protease region were analysed for association and defined using the IAS-USA 2011 classification list.
Four hundred and five of 2528 (16%) patients failed therapy containing atazanavir as a first PI over a median (IQR) follow-up of 1.76 (0.84–3.15) years and 322 resistance tests were available for analysis. Recognized major atazanavir mutations were found in six atazanavir-experienced patients (P < 0.001), including I50L and N88S. The minor mutations most strongly associated with atazanavir experience were M36I, M46I, F53L, A71V, V82T and I85V (P < 0.05). Multiple novel mutations, I15S, L19T, K43T, L63P/V, K70Q, V77I and L89I/T/V, were also associated with atazanavir experience.
Viral failure on atazanavir-containing regimens was not common and major resistance mutations were rare, suggesting that adherence may be a major contributor to viral failure. Novel mutations were described that have not been previously documented.