Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 is one of the major drug-metabolizing enzymes. Genetic variants of CYP3A4 with altered activity are one of the factors responsible for interindividual differences in drug metabolism. Azole antifungals inhibit CYP3A4 to cause clinically significant drug-drug interactions. In the present quantitative study, we investigated the inhibitory effects of three azole antifungals (ketoconazole, voriconazole, and fluconazole) on testosterone metabolism by recombinant CYP3A4 genetic variants (CYP3A4.1 (WT), CYP3A4.2, CYP3A4.7, CYP3A4.16, and CYP3A4.18) and compared them with those previously reported for itraconazole. The inhibition constants (Ki) of ketoconazole, voriconazole, and fluconazole for rCYP3A4.1 were 3.6 nM, 3.2 μM, and 16.1 μM, respectively. The Ki values of these azoles for rCYP3A4.16 were 13.9-, 13.6-, and 6.2-fold higher than those for rCYP3A4.1, respectively, whereas the Ki value of itraconazole for rCYP3A4.16 was 0.54-fold of that for rCYP3A4.1. The other genetic variants had similar effects on the Ki values of the three azoles, whereas a very different pattern was seen for itraconazole. In conclusion, itraconazole has unique characteristics that are distinct from those shared by the other azole anti-fungal drugs ketoconazole, voriconazole, and fluconazole with regard to the influence of genetic variations on the inhibition of CYP3A4.
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