Ås J, Bertulyte I, Eriksson N, Magnusson PKE, Wadelius M, Hallberg P
Clin Transl Sci 15 (5) 1249-1256 [2022-05-00; online 2022-02-20]
The immunosuppressant drug azathioprine is associated with a 4% risk of acute pancreatitis in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Studies have demonstrated an increased risk in carriers of HLA-DQA1*02:01 and HLA-DRB1*07:01. We investigated whether these human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types were associated with azathioprine-induced pancreatitis also in Swedish patients with IBD, and whether the type of disease affected the association. Nineteen individuals with IBD who developed acute pancreatitis after initiation of azathioprine were genotyped and compared with a population control cohort (n = 4891) and a control group matched for disease (n = 81). HLA-DQA1*02:01 and HLA-DRB1*07:01 were in full linkage disequilibrium, and were significantly associated with acute pancreatitis both when cases were compared with population controls (OR 3.97 [95% CI 1.57-9.97], p = 0.0035) and matched controls (OR 3.55 [95% CI 1.23-10.98], p = 0.0275). In a disease-specific analysis, the correlation was positive in patients with Crohn's disease versus matched controls (OR 9.27 [95% CI 1.86-46.19], p = 0.0066), but not in those with ulcerative colitis versus matched controls (OR 0.69 [95% CI 0.07-6.74], p = 0.749). In patients with Crohn's disease, we estimated the conditional risk of carriers of HLA-DQA1*02:01-HLA-DRB1*07:01 to 7.3%, and the conditional risk of a non-carrier to 2.2%. We conclude that HLA-DQA1*02:01-HLA-DRB1*07:01 is a marker for increased risk of acute pancreatitis in individuals of Swedish genetic origin, treated with azathioprine for Crohn's disease.