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Genetic Variation, Sulfonamide Drug Hypersensitivity, and Breast Cancer

Friday, January 18 at 12:00 PM
Des Moines University, Student Education Center (SEC) 115, Des Moines, IA, 50312 Show Map

Genetic Variation, Sulfonamide Drug Hypersensitivity, and Breast Cancer

This week’s Friday Research Seminar Series will be hosted by the Master of Biomedical Science students. All DMU faculty and students are invited to attend.


Severe adverse reactions have been reported in certain individuals taking sulfonamide drugs. These effects arise from a toxic hydroxylamine metabolite of these drugs that forms in the liver and ultimately provokes a harmful immune response, leading to hypersensitivity reactions. One reason for individual susceptibility to the toxic effects of sulfonamides may be individual differences in the DNA sequences in the genes that code for enzymes that remove these hydroxylamine metabolites. Our research hypothesis is that individual genetic differences in two such genes, CYB5A (cytochrome b5) and CYB5R3 (cytochrome b5 reductase) result in variability in the metabolism of sulfamethoxazole hydroxylamine in human liver.  This talk will outline the results of our experiments as well as their implications to other areas of study such as the effect of smoking on breast cancer risk.


  1. Describe the importance of the influence of genetic variation on the toxic effect of drugs and other xenobiotics.
  2. Explain the rationale and methodology underlying a typical genotype-phenotype correlation study.
  3. Describe molecular mechanisms by which genetic polymorphisms may affect gene expression.


James Sacco

James Sacco, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Biomedical, & Admin. Sciences,
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Drake Univeristy

Des Moines University (DMU) prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend DMU sponsored events. If you have questions/concerns, please the DMU Continuing Medical Education office at 515-271-1596 or cme@dmu.edu.