OC-046 Nudt15 variants contribute to thiopurine-induced myelosuppression in european populations

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Thiopurines are commonly used in the maintenance treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) but this is limited by myelosuppression in 7% of patients.1 Thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) variants only explain 20% of thiopurine-induced myelosuppression (TIM) in Europeans suggesting the presence of other genetic determinants.2 We aimed to identify the clinical features of TIM and to identify novel variants associated with TIM through a genome wide association study and whole exome sequencing.


We recruited 491 IBD patients with TIM from 82 hospitals. Inclusion criteria included drug exposure in the 7 days prior to TIM, white blood cell count ≤2.5 ×109/L, or neutrophil count ≤1.0 ×109/L and that TIM necessitated dose reduction/drug withdrawal. After expert adjudication, 329 cases assigned a high likelihood of causality were genotyped and exome sequenced with 635 thiopurine-tolerant IBD controls for use in the final analyses.


We first confirmed an association of TIM with TPMT in an initial GWAS. We then, using exome sequencing, discovered a novel 6 bp in-frame deletion (rs746071566; AGGAGTC/A,p.Gly17_Val18del) at position 48611918 of chromosome 13 in exon 1 of NUDT15 (5.8% cases, 0.2% controls, OR=38.2,p=1.33×10-8). This deletion was replicated in an independent cohort (3/75 [4%] cases vs. 2/785 [0.3%] thiopurine-tolerant IBD controls; OR=16.2, p=0.006). All NUDT15 coding variants were confirmed with complete concordance by Sanger sequencing. Multivariable logistic regression demonstrated that adjusted dose (OR 2.2,p=9.4×10-11), NUDT15 genotype (OR 21.7,p=2.0×10-8) and TPMT genotype (OR 2.2,p=2.6×10-4 for MUT/WT and OR 51.2,p=1.8×10-4 for MUT/MUT) were independently associated with TIM.


These are the largest ever clinical and genetic analyses of thiopurine-induced myelosuppression. We identified NUDT15 coding variants, including a novel 6 bp deletion; carriage of any coding variant confers a 22-fold increase in the odds of TIM, independent of TMPT genotype and thiopurine dose. Although NUDT15 variants are less common than TPMT variants, their effect size for heterozygotes is greater. The number of patients needed to genotype to prevent TIM due to NUDT15 coding variant heterozygosity is 100. The estimated absolute risk of TIM in NUDT15 heterozygotes is 59%. A future clinical decision tool incorporating NUDT15 and TPMT genotypes will offer personalised thiopurine therapy and prevent the considerable morbidity and costs associated with severe bone marrow toxicity.

Disclosure of Interest

None Declared

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