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Br J Dermatol. 2012 Jul;167(1):44-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2012.10894.x. Epub 2012 May 8.

Association between HLA-B*58:01 allele and severe cutaneous adverse reactions with allopurinol in Han Chinese in Hong Kong.

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.



Allopurinol has been reported as a common cause of severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs). Recent studies in various populations suggest that HLA-B*58:01 is a strong genetic marker for allopurinol-induced SCAR, especially in populations with a high frequency of HLA-B*58:01.


To confirm the association link between HLA-B*58:01 and hypersensitivity reactions attributed to allopurinol use in Han Chinese patients in Hong Kong.


We performed a case-control study to investigate whether the HLA-B*58:01 allele predisposes to allopurinol-induced SCAR in Han Chinese patients in Hong Kong. The HLA-B*58:01 genotyping was performed in 20 patients with allopurinol-induced SCAR or erythema multiforme major (EMM; n = 1) and in 30 patients tolerant to allopurinol.


All of the 19 patients with allopurinol-induced SCAR examined but not the patient with EMM carried HLA-B*58:01 whereas only four (13%) of the control patients had this allele. The positive rate of the HLA-B*58:01 was significantly higher in the cases than in the allopurinol-tolerant control group [odds ratio (OR) 123·5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 12·8-1195·1; P < 1 × 10(-4) ] and was even higher after removal of the patient with EMM (OR 229·7, 95% CI 11·7-4520·4). The sensitivity and specificity of the HLA-B*58:01 allele for prediction of allopurinol-induced SCAR were 100% and 86·7%, respectively.


This study confirmed the strong association between the HLA-B*58:01 and allopurinol-induced SCAR in Hong Kong Han Chinese patients. A screening test for the HLA-B*58:01 allele should effectively reduce the risk for allopurinol-induced SCAR in Chinese populations.

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