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Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017 Feb 28;4(1):ofw047. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofw047. eCollection 2017 Winter.

Influence of Sex/Gender and Race on Responses to Raltegravir Combined With Tenofovir-Emtricitabine in Treatment-Naive Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Infected Patients: Pooled Analyses of the STARTMRK and QDMRK Studies.

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Department of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Department of Medicine, The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Hopital Pitié Salpetriere.
Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Hopital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Paris, France.
Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey.



Antiretroviral therapy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women and blacks merits particular scrutiny because these groups have been underrepresented in clinical trials.


To document the effects of raltegravir across sex and racial lines, we conducted a pooled subgroup analysis of the efficacy and safety of raltegravir 400 mg BID plus tenofovir-emtricitabine by sex (women vs men) and self-identified race (black vs non-black) using phase 3 studies in treatment-naive patients.


Study participants included 42 black women, 102 non-black women, 48 black men, and 477 non-black men. Clade B infections were less common in women (43.8%) than men (84.6%) and in blacks (45.6%) than non-blacks (80.5%). Baseline CD4 counts were ≤200 cells/µL in 52.2% of blacks and 31.6% of non-blacks. Black men had the largest proportion of patients with baseline CD4 counts <50 cells/µL and the highest nontreatment-related discontinuation rate among the 4 sex-by-race subgroups. Human immunodeficiency virus-ribonucleic acid levels <50 copies/mL were achieved at week 48 in 92.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 80.1-98.5) of black women, 93.6% (95% CI, 86.6-97.6) of non-black women, 82.9% (95% CI, 67.9-92.8) of black men, and 91.4% (95% CI, 88.4-93.8) of non-black men. Serious clinical adverse events were reported in 9.0% of women versus 8.8% of men and in 11.1% of blacks versus 8.5% of non-blacks.


In this post hoc analysis of patients with previously untreated HIV-1 infection receiving raltegravir plus tenofovir-emtricitabine, generally comparable results were achieved across sex and racial subgroups. However, black men had a lower response rate than either black women or non-black men, partially attributable to lower baseline CD4 counts and higher discontinuation rates.


QDMRK; STARTMRK; raltegravir; subgroup analyses

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