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1.  The DRD4 Exon III VNTR, Bupropion, and Associations With Prospective Abstinence 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2012;15(7):1190-1200.
DRD4 Exon III Variable Number of Tandem Repeat (VNTR) variation was found to interact with bupropion to influence prospective smoking abstinence, in a recently published longitudinal analyses of N = 331 individuals from a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of bupropion and intensive cognitive–behavioral mood management therapy.
We used univariate, multivariate, and longitudinal logistic regression to evaluate gene, treatment, time, and interaction effects on point prevalence and continuous abstinence at end of treatment, 6 months, and 12 months, respectively, in N = 416 European ancestry participants in a double-blind pharmacogenetic efficacy trial randomizing participants to active or placebo bupropion. Participants received 10 weeks of pharmacotherapy and 7 sessions of behavioral therapy, with a target quit date 2 weeks after initiating both therapies. VNTR genotypes were coded with the long allele dominant resulting in 4 analysis categories. Covariates included demographics, dependence measures, depressive symptoms, and genetic ancestry. We also performed genotype-stratified secondary analyses.
We observed significant effects of time in longitudinal analyses of both abstinence outcomes, of treatment in individuals with VNTR long allele genotypes for both abstinence outcomes, and of covariates in some analyses. We observed non-significantly larger differences in active versus placebo effect sizes in individuals with VNTR long allele genotypes than in individuals without the VNTR long allele, in the directions previously reported.
VNTR by treatment interaction differences between these and previous analyses may be attributable to insufficient size of the replication sample. Analyses of multiple randomized clinical trials will enable identification and validation of factors mediating treatment response.
PMCID: PMC3682839  PMID: 23212438
2.  Drug Metabolizing Enzyme and Transporter Gene Variation, Nicotine Metabolism, Prospective Abstinence, and Cigarette Consumption 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0126113.
The Nicotine Metabolite Ratio (NMR, ratio of trans-3’-hydroxycotinine and cotinine), has previously been associated with CYP2A6 activity, response to smoking cessation treatments, and cigarette consumption. We searched for drug metabolizing enzyme and transporter (DMET) gene variation associated with the NMR and prospective abstinence in 2,946 participants of laboratory studies of nicotine metabolism and of clinical trials of smoking cessation therapies. Stage I was a meta-analysis of the association of 507 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 173 DMET genes with the NMR in 449 participants of two laboratory studies. Nominally significant associations were identified in ten genes after adjustment for intragenic SNPs; CYP2A6 and two CYP2A6 SNPs attained experiment-wide significance adjusted for correlated SNPs (CYP2A6 PACT=4.1E-7, rs4803381 PACT=4.5E-5, rs1137115, PACT=1.2E-3). Stage II was mega-regression analyses of 10 DMET SNPs with pretreatment NMR and prospective abstinence in up to 2,497 participants from eight trials. rs4803381 and rs1137115 SNPs were associated with pretreatment NMR at genome-wide significance. In post-hoc analyses of CYP2A6 SNPs, we observed nominally significant association with: abstinence in one pharmacotherapy arm; cigarette consumption among all trial participants; and lung cancer in four case:control studies. CYP2A6 minor alleles were associated with reduced NMR, CPD, and lung cancer risk. We confirmed the major role that CYP2A6 plays in nicotine metabolism, and made novel findings with respect to genome-wide significance and associations with CPD, abstinence and lung cancer risk. Additional multivariate analyses with patient variables and genetic modeling will improve prediction of nicotine metabolism, disease risk and smoking cessation treatment prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4488893  PMID: 26132489
3.  Dopamine genes and nicotine dependence in treatment seeking and community smokers 
We utilized a cohort of 828 treatment seeking self-identified white cigarette smokers (50% female) to rank candidate gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), a measure of nicotine dependence which assesses quantity of cigarettes smoked and time- and place-dependent characteristics of the respondent’s smoking behavior. 1123 SNPs at 55 autosomal candidate genes, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and genes involved in dopaminergic function, were tested for association to baseline FTND scores adjusted for age, depression, education, sex and study site. SNP P values were adjusted for the number of transmission models, the number of SNPs tested per candidate gene, and their intragenic correlation. DRD2, SLC6A3 and NR4A2 SNPs with adjusted P values < 0.10 were considered sufficiently noteworthy to justify further genetic, bioinformatic and literature analyses. Each independent signal among the top-ranked SNPs accounted for ~1% of the FTND variance in this sample. The DRD2 SNP appears to represent a novel association with nicotine dependence. The SLC6A3 SNPs have previously been shown to be associated with SLC6A3 transcription or dopamine transporter density in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo. Analysis of SLC6A3 and NR4A2 SNPs identified a statistically significant gene-gene interaction (P=0.001), consistent with in vitro evidence that the NR4A2 protein product (NURR1) regulates SLC6A3 transcription. A community cohort of N=175 multiplex ever smoking pedigrees (N=423 ever smokers) provided nominal evidence for association with the FTND at these top ranked SNPs, uncorrected for multiple comparisons.
PMCID: PMC3558036  PMID: 19494806
dopamine transporter; Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence; single nucleotide polymorphism; candidate gene association scan; gene-gene interaction
4.  Nicotine dependence as a moderator of genetic influences on smoking cessation treatment outcome☆ 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2014;138:109-117.
Genetic influences on smoking cessation treatment outcome may be affected by pretreatment patient characteristics. Nicotine dependence is arguably the most salient clinical factor in smoking cessation.
In this secondary analysis of clinical trial data (N = 793), we examined nicotine dependence severity as a moderator of the effects of 1198 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 53 biologically-relevant gene regions on smoking cessation outcomes. P-values were adjusted to account for multiple correlated SNPs within a gene region; corrected system-wide significance was 5 × 10−4.
SNP × nicotine dependence interactions reached region-wide significance for several SNPs in the Dopamine Beta Hydroxylase (DBH) locus (0.0005 < Adjusted-P < 0.05), including rs1541333, which reached system-wide significance for predicting end of treatment (EOT) abstinence (Adjusted-P = 0.0004). A haplotype including 6 DBH SNPs predicted abstinence at EOT (OR = 1.7, P = 0.001) and 6-month follow-up (OR = 1.6, P = 0.008) in those with high nicotine dependence (n = 526) but not in those with low dependence (n = 227). The DBH signal observed here may be distinct from a previously reported genome-wide significant signal for former smoking status and from the principal haplotype associated with plasma dopamine beta-hydroxylase activity. A haplotype within the Chromosome 15 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor gene region predicted abstinence at EOT in those with high (OR = 2.0, P = 0.0004) but not low (P = 0.6) dependence in post hoc analyses.
Considering pre-treatment nicotine dependence level may optimize the prediction of genetic influences on cessation outcomes. If replicated, results like these may inform prognosticative genomic screening panels designed to identify smokers at high risk of relapse when coupled with severe nicotine dependence.
PMCID: PMC4095777  PMID: 24667010
Genetics; Smoking cessation; Nicotine dependence; Dopamine
5.  Influence of a Dopamine Pathway Additive Genetic Efficacy Score on Smoking Cessation: Results from Two Randomized Clinical Trials of Bupropion 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2013;108(12):10.1111/add.12325.
To evaluate associations of treatment and an ‘additive genetic efficacy score’ (AGES) based on dopamine functional polymorphisms with time to first smoking lapse and point prevalence abstinence at end of treatment among participants enrolled in two randomized clinical trials of smoking cessation therapies.
Double-blind pharmacogenetic efficacy trials randomizing participants to active or placebo bupropion. Study 1 also randomized participants to cognitive-behavioral smoking cessation treatment (CBT) or this treatment with CBT for depression. Study 2 provided standardized behavioural support.
Two Hospital-affiliated clinics (Study 1), and two University-affiliated clinics (Study 2).
N=792 self-identified white treatment-seeking smokers aged ≥18 years smoking ≥10 cigarettes per day over the last year.
Age, gender, Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, dopamine pathway genotypes (rs1800497 [ANKK1 E713K], rs4680 [COMT V158M], DRD4 exon 3 Variable Number of Tandem Repeats polymorphism [DRD4 VNTR], SLC6A3 3' VNTR) analyzed both separately and as part of an AGES, time to first lapse, and point prevalence abstinence at end of treatment.
Significant associations of the AGES (hazard ratio = 1.10, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.06–1.14], p=0.0099) and of the DRD4 VNTR (HR = 1.29, 95%CI 1.17–1.41, p=0.0073) were observed with time to first lapse. A significant AGES by pharmacotherapy interaction was observed (β [SE]=−0.18 [0.07], p=0.016), such that AGES predicted risk for time to first lapse only for individuals randomized to placebo.
A score based on functional polymorphisms relating to dopamine pathways appears to predict lapse to smoking following a quit attempt, and the association is mitigated in smokers using bupropion.
PMCID: PMC3834197  PMID: 23941313
Bupropion; genetic; pharmacogenetic analysis; randomized clinical trial; first lapse
6.  DRD1 Associations with Smoking Abstinence Across Slow and Normal Nicotine Metabolizers 
Pharmacogenetics and Genomics  2012;22(7):551-554.
Nicotine metabolism and genetic variation have an impact on nicotine addiction and smoking abstinence, but further research is required. The nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) is a robust biomarker of nicotine metabolism used to categorize slow and normal nicotine metabolizers (lower 25th quartile cutoff). In two randomized clinical trials of smoking abstinence treatments, we conducted NMR-stratified analyses on smoking abstinence across 13 regions coding for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and proteins involved in the dopamine reward system. Gene × NMR interaction P-values were adjusted for multiple correlated tests, and we used a Bonferroni-corrected α-level of 0.004 to determine system-wide significance. Three SNPs in DRD1 (rs11746641, rs2168631, rs11749035) had significant interactions (0.001 ≤ adjusted P-values ≤ 0.004), with increased odds of abstinence within slow metabolizers (ORs=3.1–3.5, 95% CI 1.7–6.7). Our findings support the role of DRD1 in nicotine dependence, and identify genetic and nicotine metabolism profiles that may interact to impact nicotine dependence.
PMCID: PMC3376177  PMID: 22495174
Genetic association studies; heterogeneity; smoking abstinence; nicotine metabolism; nicotine metabolite ratio; DRD1
7.  Gender Stratified Gene and Gene–Treatment Interactions in Smoking Cessation 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2011;12(6):521-532.
We conducted gender-stratified analyses on a systems-based candidate gene study of 53 regions involved in nicotinic response and the brain-reward pathway in two randomized clinical trials of smoking cessation treatments (placebo, bupropion, transdermal and nasal spray nicotine replacement therapy). We adjusted P-values for multiple correlated tests, and used a Bonferroni corrected α-level of 5 × 10−4 to determine system-wide significance. Four SNPs (rs12021667, rs12027267, rs6702335, rs12039988; r2>0.98) in erythrocyte membrane protein band 4.1 (EPB41) had a significant male-specific marginal association with smoking abstinence (OR=0.5; 95% CI 0.3–0.6) at end of treatment (adjusted P<6 × 10−5). rs806365 in cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) had a significant male-specific gene-treatment interaction at 6-month follow-up (adjusted P=3.9 × 10−5); within males using nasal spray, rs806365 was associated with a decrease in odds of abstinence (OR=0.04; 95% CI 0.01–0.2). While the role of CNR1 in substance abuse has been well studied, we report EPB41 for the first time in the nicotine literature.
PMCID: PMC3208134  PMID: 21808284
Genetic association studies; heterogeneity; smoking cessation
8.  Association of the Nicotine Metabolite Ratio and CHRNA5/CHRNA3 Polymorphisms With Smoking Rate Among Treatment-Seeking Smokers 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2011;13(6):498-503.
Genome-wide association studies have linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster with heaviness of smoking. The nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR), a measure of the rate of nicotine metabolism, is associated with the number of cigarettes per day (CPD) and likelihood of cessation. We tested the potential interacting effects of these two risk factors on CPD.
Pretreatment data from three prior clinical trials were pooled for analysis. One thousand and thirty treatment seekers of European ancestry with genotype data for the CHRNA5/A3/B4 SNPs rs578776 and rs1051730 and complete data for NMR and CPD at pretreatment were included. Data for the third SNP, rs16969968, were available for 677 individuals. Linear regression models estimated the main and interacting effects of genotype and NMR on CPD.
We confirmed independent associations between the NMR and CPD as well as between the SNPs rs16969968 and rs1051730 and CPD. We did not detect a significant interaction between NMR and any of the SNPs examined.
This study demonstrates the additive and independent association of the NMR and SNPs in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster with smoking rate in treatment-seeking smokers.
PMCID: PMC3103715  PMID: 21385908
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2009;19(5):388-398.
The ratio of trans-3’hydroxycotinine/cotinine (3HC/COT) is a marker of CYP2A6 activity, an important determinant of nicotine metabolism. This analysis sought to conduct a combined genetic epidemiologic and pharmacogenetic investigation of the 3HC/COT ratio in plasma and urine.
One hundred thirty nine twin pairs (110 monozygotic [MZ] and 29 dizygotic [DZ]) underwent a 30-minute infusion of stable isotope-labeled nicotine and its major metabolite, cotinine, followed by an 8-hour in-hospital stay. Blood and urine samples were taken at regular intervals for analysis of nicotine, cotinine, and metabolites. DNA was genotyped to confirm zygosity and for variation in the gene for the primary nicotine metabolic enzyme, CYP2A6 (variants genotyped: *1B, *1×2, *2, *4, *9, *12). Univariate biometric analyses quantified genetic and environmental influences on each measure in the presence and absence of covariates, including measured CYP2A6 genotype.
There was a substantial amount of variation in the free 3HC/COT ratio in plasma (6 hours post-infusion) attributable to additive genetic influences (67.4%, 95% CI = 55.9–76.2%). The heritability estimate was reduced to 61.0% and 49.4%, respectively, after taking into account the effect of covariates and CYP2A6 genotype. In urine (collected over 8 hours), the estimated amount of variation in the 3HC/COT ratio attributable to additive genetic influences was smaller (47.2%, 95% CI = 0–67.2%) and decreased to 44.6% and 42.0% after accounting for covariates and genotype.
Additive genetic factors are prominent in determining variation in plasma 3HC/COT variation but less so in determining variation in urine 3HC/COT.
PMCID: PMC2849278  PMID: 19300303
pharmacogenetics; nicotine; cotinine; metabolism; CYP2A6; twins; genetics; heritability
10.  Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor β2 subunit gene implicated in a systems-based candidate gene study of smoking cessation 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(18):2834-2848.
Although the efficacy of pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence has been previously demonstrated, there is substantial variability among individuals in treatment response. We performed a systems-based candidate gene study of 1295 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 58 genes within the neuronal nicotinic receptor and dopamine systems to investigate their role in smoking cessation in a bupropion placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Putative functional variants were supplemented with tagSNPs within each gene. We used global tests of main effects and treatment interactions, adjusting the P-values for multiple correlated tests. An SNP (rs2072661) in the 3′ UTR region of the β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit (CHRNB2) has an impact on abstinence rates at the end of treatment (adjusted P = 0.01) and after a 6-month follow-up period (adjusted P = 0.0002). This latter P-value is also significant with adjustment for the number of genes tested. Independent of treatment at 6-month follow-up, individuals carrying the minor allele have substantially decreased the odds of quitting (OR = 0.31; 95% CI 0.18–0.55). Effect of estimates indicate that the treatment is more effective for individuals with the wild-type (OR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.20–3.81) compared with individuals carrying the minor allele (OR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.32–2.19), although this difference is only suggestive (P = 0.10). Furthermore, this SNP demonstrated a role in the time to relapse (P = 0.0002) and an impact on withdrawal symptoms at target quit date (TQD) (P = 0.0009). Overall, while our results indicate strong evidence for CHRNB2 in ability to quit smoking, these results require replication in an independent sample.
PMCID: PMC2525499  PMID: 18593715

Results 1-10 (10)