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November 2014


Only a subset of patients will typically respond to any given prescribed drug. The time it takes clinicians to declare a treatment ineffective leaves the patient in an impaired state and at unnecessary risk for adverse drug effects. Thus, diagnostic tests robustly predicting the most effective and safe medication for each patient prior to starting pharmacotherapy would have tremendous clinical value. In this article, we evaluated the use of genetic markers to estimate ancestry as a predictive component of such diagnostic tests. We first estimated each patient’s unique mosaic of ancestral backgrounds using genome-wide SNP data collected in the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) (n = 765) and the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) (n = 1892). Next, we performed multiple regression analyses to estimate the predictive power of these ancestral dimensions. For 136/89 treatment-outcome combinations tested in CATIE/STAR*D, results indicated 1.67/1.84 times higher median test statistics than expected under the null hypothesis assuming no predictive power (p<0.01, both samples). Thus, ancestry showed robust and pervasive correlations with drug efficacy and side effects in both CATIE and STAR*D. Comparison of the marginal predictive power of MDS ancestral dimensions and self-reported race indicated significant improvements to model fit with the inclusion of MDS dimensions, but mixed evidence for self-reported race. Knowledge of each patient’s unique mosaic of ancestral backgrounds provides a potent immediate starting point for developing algorithms identifying the most effective and safe medication for a wide variety of drug-treatment response combinations. As relatively few new psychiatric drugs are currently under development, such personalized medicine offers a promising approach toward optimizing pharmacotherapy for psychiatric conditions.


Copyright: © 2013 Adkins et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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VCU Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine Publications (338 kB)