, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 873-875
Date: 13 Apr 2014

Flow cytometry test to screen for HLA-B*58:01-associated allopurinol hypersensitivity

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A strong association between the human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-B*58:01 allele and allopurinol-associated severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR) has been reported. A screening for HLA-B*58:01 before allopurinol has been suggested in guidelines for management of gout. HLA-B*58:01 screening is generally based on molecular biology methods that may be not suitable for wide application. We have retrospectively evaluated the performance on a rapid flow cytometry (FCM) test, based on the use of a monoclonal antibody specific for HLA-B17, an antigen that can be split into HLA-B*57 and –B*58 alleles by molecular biology testing, which is used to screen for HLA-B*57:01 before prescription of the antiretroviral agent abacavir in HIV-positive patients. Among 475 samples that were analysed by FCM and by molecular biology test as gold standard, 2 out of 89 false negative tests for HLA-B*58:01 were found. The sensitivity was 97.8 % and the negative predictive value was 98.9 %. We have shown that a FCM test can identify almost all HLA-B*58:01 positive individuals. As FCM laboratories are more widely available than molecular biology ones, this approach could be used to reduce the risk for allopurinol-induced SCAR. Where both facilities are available, a two-step strategy (FCM as screening, molecular biology for confirmation) may reduce the cost of the screening.