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Genetic profiling increases the treatment benefits of ACE inhibitors

Embargoed for release: Friday 20 august at 1800hrs

Stockholm, Sweden, 29 August: The advantages of prescribing angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for stable coronary artery disease (CAD) may be increased by targeting the therapy to the patients most likely to benefit.  Clinical characteristics alone do not allow a reliable identification of these patients, so a research programme was carried out at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam to develop a genetic profiling model that predicts the treatment benefits of ACE inhibitors and optimises the recommended therapy.

Research lead, Doctor Jasper Brugts, explained the methodology used, “Around 9,000 stable CAD patients were selected to take part in a randomised, placebo-controlled trial known as EUROPA.  We analysed 12 candidate genes that were determined as being within the pharmacodynamic pathway of ACE-inhibitors, using 52 haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).  The primary outcome was a reduction in cardiovascular mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction and resuscitated cardiac arrest over a four-year follow-up period.”

Three SNPs, located in the angiotensin-II type I receptor genes and bradykinin type I receptor genes, were significantly associated with the treatment benefit of perindopril after multivariate adjustment for confounders and correction for multiple testing.  A pharmacogenetic score, combining these three SNPs, demonstrated a stepwise reduction of risk in the placebo group and a stepwise decrease in treatment benefit of perindopril with an increasing score. 

A pronounced treatment benefit was observed in a subgroup of 73.5 percent of the patients, while no benefit was apparent in the remaining 26.5 percent.  An interaction effect of similar direction and magnitude, although not statistically significant, was observed in a preliminary confirmatory analysis of over 1,000 patients with cerebrovascular disease, who were treated with perindopril or placebo from the PROGRESS-trial.

This research study is the first to identify genetic determinants of the treatment benefit of ACE-inhibitor therapy.  A group of responders (73.5 percent) and non-responders (26.5 percent) to treatment was identified by genetic markers.  If confirmed in subsequent studies, our findings open the route to individualise therapy by pharmacogenetic profiling.  Such individualised therapy could revolutionise medical drug therapy by prescribing drugs only to those patients most likely to benefit from the therapy.  This would not only increase efficacy, but also decrease unnecessary treatment of patients and avoid unwanted side-effects, thereby decreasing the overall costs.



This press release accompanies both a presentation and an ESC press conference given at the ESC Congress 2010. The press release has been written and/or edited by the ESC from information provided by the investigator and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Society of Cardiology. The content of the press release has been approved by the investigator.

Notes to editor

About the European Society of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 62,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean.  Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.

About ESC Congress 2010
ESC Congress 2010 will take place from 28 August to 1 September at the Stockholmsmässan, Stockholm.  Information on the scientific programme is available at  More information on ESC Congress 2010 is available from the ESC's press office at