The purpose of this research program is to understand how a biomarker called the "nicotine metabolite ratio" (also referred to as NMR) may influence a smoker's ability to quit smoking.
moking is an enormous public health problem with a great need for research to improve treatment outcomes. Our prior data indicates that the CYP2A6 enzyme is critical in the metabolic inactivation of nicotine, and also influences smoking behavior and response to therapies. With a vision toward translation of our research to practice, we have characterized a genetically-informed biomarker of CYP2A6 activity, specifically the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR; 3'hydroxycotinine/cotinine), which reflects both CYP2A6 genetic variation and environmental influences on CYP2A6 activity. The NMR is measured non-invasively in smokers with established reliability, stability, analytic validity, and efficacy as a predictor of the ability to quit smoking and treatment response in multiple retrospective trials. Translation of these findings to clinical practice requires validation in a prospective clinical trial comparing alternative therapies for smoking cessation. Thus, the proposed trial is a prospective, stratified, placebo-controlled, multi-center clinical trial of alternative therapies for smoking cessation treatment in 1,350 smokers. Randomization to placebo (PLA), transdermal nicotine (TN), or varenicline (VAR) will be stratified prospectively based on the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR). Abstinence from smoking at the end of treatment will be the primary outcome. To facilitate translation to practice, analysis of the cost-effectiveness of our proposed approach will also be completed. The proposed research provides the next critical step to validate a genetically-informed diagnostic tool, the NMR, which clinicians can use in the future to optimize treatment decisions for their patients who wish to quit smoking.