Genotype-based ancestral background consistently predicts efficacy and side effects across treatments in CATIE and STAR*D. Academic Article uri icon


  • Only a subset of patients will typically respond to any given prescribed drug. The time it takes clinicians to declare a treatment ineffective leaves the patient in an impaired state and at unnecessary risk for adverse drug effects. Thus, diagnostic tests robustly predicting the most effective and safe medication for each patient prior to starting pharmacotherapy would have tremendous clinical value. In this article, we evaluated the use of genetic markers to estimate ancestry as a predictive component of such diagnostic tests. We first estimated each patient's unique mosaic of ancestral backgrounds using genome-wide SNP data collected in the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) (n = 765) and the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) (n = 1892). Next, we performed multiple regression analyses to estimate the predictive power of these ancestral dimensions. For 136/89 treatment-outcome combinations tested in CATIE/STAR*D, results indicated 1.67/1.84 times higher median test statistics than expected under the null hypothesis assuming no predictive power (p<0.01, both samples). Thus, ancestry showed robust and pervasive correlations with drug efficacy and side effects in both CATIE and STAR*D. Comparison of the marginal predictive power of MDS ancestral dimensions and self-reported race indicated significant improvements to model fit with the inclusion of MDS dimensions, but mixed evidence for self-reported race. Knowledge of each patient's unique mosaic of ancestral backgrounds provides a potent immediate starting point for developing algorithms identifying the most effective and safe medication for a wide variety of drug-treatment response combinations. As relatively few new psychiatric drugs are currently under development, such personalized medicine offers a promising approach toward optimizing pharmacotherapy for psychiatric conditions.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 2.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Adkins, D. E., Souza, R. P., Aberg, K., Clark, S. L., McClay, J. L., Sullivan, P. F., & van den Oord, E.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Adkins, Daniel E||Souza, Renan P||Aberg, Karolina||Clark, Shaunna L||McClay, Joseph L||Sullivan, Patrick F||van den Oord, Edwin JCG

editor list (cited editors)

  • Hsiao, C. K.

publication date

  • February 2013