Pharmacogenetic Testing to Prevent Adverse Drug Reactions

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Haplotypes that are predictive of adverse reactions to commonly-used chemotherapy drugs


  • Novel associations linking genetic variants to clinical response during chemotherapy.
  • Targets highly effective cancer therapies that are widely used in adult and pediatric oncology.
  • ADR frequency and severity will be significant drivers for clinical adoption of diagnostic SNPs. 

Technology Details

Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitals and represent a significant economic burden to the healthcare industry.  Pediatric patients in particular are at increased risk of ADRs since the majority (>75%) of approved drugs are untested in pediatric populations.  Recent evidence suggests that many ADRs are the result of genetic factors.  The emerging field of pharmacogenomics aims to identify genetic variations that are associated with drug toxicity in order to optimize patient therapy. 

Cisplatin is a commonly-used chemotherapeutic that is highly effective against soft-tissue neoplasms and squamous cell cancers of the head and neck.  The therapeutic efficacy of cisplatin therapy is tempered by the fact that cisplatin use leads to irreversible hearing loss and, in some cases, permanent deafness.  Researchers at The University of British Columbia have identified genomic markers within genes involved in drug metabolism that are associated with cisplatin-induced hearing loss.

Anthracyclines such as daunorubicin, epirubicin and doxorubicin are commonly prescribed chemotherapeutics for childhood leukemia as well as cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, bladder, ovary and endometrium.  Anthracycline-associated cardiotoxicity is one of the most frequent ADRs in cancer survivors and can lead to cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.  Researchers at The University of British Columbia have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) within drug metabolism genes that are associated with an increased risk of cardiotoxic effects following anthracycline treatment.