Scientists in England have identified a genetic variant that is strongly associated with an increased risk of myopathy related to statin use (The SEARCH Collaborative Group. N Engl J Med. 10.1056/NEJMoa0801936 [published online ahead of print July 23, 2008]).
The study focused on 85 persons with definite or incipient myopathy and 90 controls, all of whom were taking 80 mg of simvastatin daily as part of a trial involving about 12 000 participants. A particular variant of a gene called SCLO1B1, which encodes a protein that regulates the uptake of statins, was associated with more than 60% of cases of myopathy. Those with 1 copy of this variant, the C allele, were more than 4 times likelier to have myopathy compared with individuals who possess a more common variant of SCLO1B1, the T allele; those with 2 C alleles were about 17 times more likely to have myopathy. The findings were replicated in a second group of individuals receiving 40 mg of simvastatin daily, although the risk level was somewhat lower.
Stephenson J. Gene Boosts Statin Risk. JAMA. 2008;300(7):782. doi:10.1001/jama.300.7.782-a