A meta-analysis of the performance of a blood-based exposure response gene signature across clinical studies on the Tobacco Heating System 2.2 (THS 2.2)

Authored by  F Martin, M Talikka, NV Ivanov, C Haziza, J Hoeng, M Peitsch

Published in Frontiers in Pharmacology    


As part of emerging tobacco harm reduction strategies, modified risk tobacco products (MRTP) are being developed to offer alternatives that have the potential to reduce the individual risk and population harm compared with smoking cigarettes for adult smokers who want to continue using tobacco and nicotine products. MRTPs are defined as any tobacco products that are distributed for use to reduce harm or the risk of tobacco-related disease associated with commercially marketed tobacco products. One such candidate MRTP is the Tobacco Heating System (THS) 2.2, which does not burn tobacco but instead heats it, thus producing significantly reduced levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents compared with cigarettes. The clinical assessment of candidate MRTPs requires the development of exposure-response markers to distinguish current smokers from either nonsmokers or former smokers with high specificity and sensitivity. Toward this end, a whole blood-derived gene signature was previously developed and reported. Four randomized, controlled, open-label, three-arm parallel group reduced exposure clinical studies have been conducted with subjects randomized to three arms: switching from cigarettes to THS 2.2, continuous use of cigarettes, or smoking abstinence. These clinical studies had an investigational period of 5 days in confinement, which was followed by an 85-day ambulatory period in two studies. Here we tested the previously developed blood-derived signature on the samples derived from those clinical studies. We showed that in all four studies, the signature scores were reduced consistently in subjects who either stopped smoking or switched to THS 2.2 compared with subjects who continued smoking cigarettes.