HIV-1 sensitivity to zidovudine and clinical outcome in children.
In adults with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, long-term monotherapy with zidovudine selects for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains with substantially reduced in-vitro susceptibility to the drug. We have assessed the relation between in-vitro resistance to zidovudine and clinical outcome in children, in whom disease progression is more rapid than in adults. We studied 23 children with symptoms of HIV-1 disease during extended monotherapy with zidovudine. An in-vitro assay was used to determine the concentration of zidovudine required to inhibit by 50% the replication of viral isolates (IC50) obtained after 9 to 39 months of treatment. Viral stocks of high enough titre to yield reproducible results were obtained from 19 of the children. During the following 6 months of therapy, 9 children were stable, 7 deteriorated, and 3 died. There was a highly significant relation between decreased zidovudine susceptibility and poor clinical outcome (p less than 0.001) but no relation between IC50 and age at start of therapy or length of time on treatment. Age-adjusted CD4 lymphocyte counts were lower at the start of treatment (p = 0.02) and at the time of sampling (p = 0.01) in children whose viral isolates had an increased zidovudine IC50. Initial serum p24 antigen levels were not predictive of subsequent emergence of resistant virus, but at the time of sampling for viral sensitivity higher p24 antigen levels were associated with raised IC50 (p = 0.004). The findings suggest that most children who become unresponsive to monotherapy with zidovudine, as judged by clinical criteria, will have changes in in-vitro sensitivity to the drug. In these children, an alternative antiretroviral therapy should be considered.
Tudor-Williams, G; St Clair, MH; McKinney, RE; Maha, M; Walter, E; Santacroce, S; Mintz, M; O'Donnell, K; Rudoll, T; Vavro, CL
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