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AIDS. 1999 Feb 25;13(3):359-65.

Clinical cross-resistance between the HIV-1 protease inhibitors saquinavir and indinavir and correlations with genotypic mutations.

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Center for AIDS Research, Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.



To determine the clinical efficacy of the HIV-1 protease inhibitor indinavir (IDV) in saquinavir (SQV)-experienced patients and delineate the developing drug-resistance patterns.


Open-label prospective clinical trial.


University hospital research center.


Ten patients who had completed a SQV monotherapy study in which they had received SQV at a dose of 3600 or 7200 mg daily (two and fourfold the standard dose).


At enrollment patients received IDV for 4 weeks as monotherapy, after which zidovudine (ZDV) and lamivudine (3TC) were added to their drug regimen. Patients then received combination therapy (IDV-ZDV-3TC) for an additional 20 weeks to complete a total of 24 weeks of therapy.


Plasma HIV RNA viral load and CD4+ T-cell counts were monitored. Sequencing of the HIV protease gene was performed to determine the development of resistance mutations. Plasma samples for sequencing were taken before initial SQV therapy, after SQV therapy before starting IDV, and after 24 weeks of IDV therapy.


The average duration of high-dose SQV before starting IDV was 58+/-29.2 weeks. A 0.58 log10 RNA copies/ml increase was noted during the 3-week washout phase followed by a mean reduction in plasma HIV RNA viral load of 1.2 log10 RNA copies/ml after 4 weeks of IDV. After the addition of ZDV and 3TC at week 4, HIV RNA continued to fall reaching a mean reduction of 1.96 log10 RNA copies/ml at week 24. Plasma HIV RNA was below 400 RNA copies/ml in six out of nine patients at week 24. CD4+ T-cell counts showed a gradual rise from 328 x 10(6)/l to 453 x 10(6)/l by week 24. SQV therapy had resulted in multiple mutations in the protease gene. Six of the patients had developed five or more mutations: L90M in two, G48V in four (of which three also contained L101), and V82A in three. Patients in whom plasma HIV RNA was not durably suppressed by subsequent IDV combination therapy developed multiple (up to four) additional mutations within 24 weeks, including codons 54, 82 and 93 amongst others. No clear correlation was found between the mutations that had developed in individual patients after SQV and the subsequent efficacy of IDV.


Prolonged use of SQV at potent doses in the presence of elevated viral load levels resulted in the development of multiple resistance mutations. Individual resistance patterns varied greatly between patients, as did their virological response to therapy. Resistance assays may be useful in identifying which patients will benefit from salvage therapy with a second protease inhibitor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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