More than 25 years of genetic studies of clozapine-induced agranulocytosis
Clozapine is one of the most effective atypical antipsychotic drugs prescribed to patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Approximately 1% of patients experience potential life-threatening adverse effects in the form of agranulocytosis, greatly hindering its applicability in clinical practice. The etiology of clozapine-induced agranulocytosis (CIA) remains unclear, but is thought to be a heritable trait. We reviewed the genetic studies of CIA published thus far. One recurrent finding from early candidate gene study to more recent genome-wide analysis is that of the involvement of human leukocyte antigen locus. We conclude that CIA is most likely a complex, polygenic trait, which may hamper efforts to the development of a genetic predictor test with clinical relevance. To decipher the genetic architecture of CIA, it is necessary to apply more rigorous standards of phenotyping and study much larger sample sizes.