UGT1A1 Genetic Testing
UGTs are a family of enzymes that have the important role of eliminating potentially toxic compounds in the body. UGTA1 is a gene that encodes the hepatic enzyme that eliminates bilirubin. This enzyme also affects chemotherapeutic agents including irinotecan (Camptosar®). This medication is commonly used during chemotherapy for cancer treatments. About a tenth of the US population have genetic variations that make themselves poor metabolizers of medications like Camptosar. This may increase drug levels in the blood stream and lead to complications caused by treatment-related toxicity.
Chemotherapy Treatments & Genetic Testing
An individual’s genetics has profound impact on how their body metabolizes and eliminates medications. Poor metabolizers can be at a higher risk for symptoms developed by an over-dosage of a medication or treatment. For this reason, it is extremely beneficial to both patients and medical providers to order testing on any medications that have known pharmacogenetic data. This includes the connection between Camptosar and UGT1a1 enzyme production. PGx testing can prevent needless trial and error when choosing treatment options.
Patient Considerations for Pharmacogenetic Testing
Not only does pharmacogenetic testing predict and prevent adverse reactions, it can also help providers adjust dosages for medication. In many cases, genetic variations show that an individual is a poor metabolizer. Some medications actually have pharmacogenetic data that influences dosage. This can prevent complications and treatment failure in either patients who are poor metabolizers or are rapid metabolizers. Patients should speak to their medical providers about pharmacogenetic testing if they are worried about potential side effects, are experiencing side effects on a current medication, or have a family history where members of their family have had negative reactions to specific medications affected by UTG1A1.