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Polymorphisms in the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2 C/T and DRD2 A/G) and in dopamine beta hydroxylase (DBH A/G) have been implicated in modulation of smoking and other reward-seeking behaviours. We hypothesized that these alleles would predict the outcome of nicotine patch therapy for smoking cessation. In 1991-93, we performed a randomized controlled trial of the nicotine patch on 1686 heavy smokers (> or = 15 cigarettes/day). In 1999-2000, we contacted 1532 of the 1612 subjects still available; 767 (50%) completed a questionnaire and gave a blood sample. In the 755 cases in which DNA was successfully genotyped, we examined associations between the polymorphisms in DRD2 and DBH, and smoking cessation. At 1 week, the patch was more effective for smokers with DRD2 CT/TT genotype [patch/placebo odds ratio (OR) 2.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7-4.6] than with CC (OR 1.4, 0.9-2.1; P for difference in ORs 0.04). Smokers with both DRD2 CT/TT and DBH GA/AA genotypes had an OR of 3.6 (2.0-6.5) compared to 1.4 (1.0-2.1) for others (P = 0.01). At 12 weeks, the ORs for these genotypic groups were 3.6 (1.7-7.8) and 1.4 (0.9-2.3), respectively (P = 0.04). There was no association between patch effectiveness and DRD2 exon 8. Short-term effectiveness of the nicotine patch may be related to dopamine beta-hydroxylase and dopamine D2 receptor genotype. Our results support the need for further investigation into personalized therapies for smoking cessation based on individual genotype.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





83 - 90


Adult, Aged, Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase, Female, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Nicotine, Odds Ratio, Receptors, Dopamine D2, Signal Transduction, Smoking Cessation