Antihypertensive treatment guided by genetics: PEARL-HT, the randomized proof-of-concept trial comparing rostafuroxin with losartan

Published: 9 February 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/vpmj48s8jf.1


We compared a standard antihypertensive losartan treatment with a pharmacogenomics-guided rostafuroxin treatment in never treated Caucasian and Chinese patients with primary hypertension. Rostafuroxin is a digitoxigenin derivative that selectively disrupts the binding to the cSrc-SH2 domain of mutant α-adducin and of the ouabain-activated Na-K pump at 10–11 M. Of 902 patients screened, 172 were enrolled in Italy and 107 in Taiwan. After stratification for country and genetic background, patients were randomized to rostafuroxin or losartan, being the difference in the fall in office systolic blood pressure (OSBP) after 2-month treatment the primary endpoint. Three pharmacogenomic profiles (P) were examined, considering: P1, adding to the gene variants included in the subsequent P2, the variants detected by post-hoc analysis of a previous trial; P2, variants of genes encoding enzymes for endogenous ouabain (EO) synthesis (LSS and HSD3B1), EO transport (MDR1/ABCB1), adducin (ADD1 and ADD3); P3, variants of the LSS gene only. In Caucasians, the group differences (rostafuroxin 50 μg minus losartan 50 mg in OSBP mmHg) were significant both in P2 adjusted for genetic heterogeneity (P2a) and P3 LSS rs2254524 AA [9.8 (0.6–19.0), P=0.038 and 13.4 (25.4–2.5), P =0.031, respectively]. In human H295R cells transfected with LSS A and LSS C variants, the EO production was greater in the former (P=0.038); this difference was abolished by rostafuroxin at 10–11 M. Chinese patients had a similar drop in OSBP to Caucasians with losartan but no change in OSBP with rostafuroxin. DOI 10.1038/s41397-021-00214-y



Ospedale San Raffaele, Universita Vita Salute San Raffaele


Antihypertensive Drug, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, Hypertension, Pharmacogenomics of Hypertension