The promise of pharmacogenomics lies in the ability to tailor patient therapies based on a genetic risk profile. This risk profile may be based on known literature single nucleotide polymorphisms or it may be encompassed by genome‐wide scans for risk alleles. In either case, it is the polymorphisms of a patient that will be the focus in the search for better individualized therapies. The risk profile for sepsis has been indicated to be heavily influenced by various alleles of candidate genes. Several likely genes have been investigated, some in depth, while others have received less attention. We review the case for genetic susceptibility to sepsis and summarize the literature to date investigating the use of single nucleotide polymorphisms and haplotypes in the search for risk profiles. We discuss the methods in use for structuring associations between complex diseases and genomics. Finally, we summarize the literature to date dealing with risk polymorphisms in candidate genes including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)‐α, lymphotoxin‐α (LTA), interleukin (IL)‐6 and ‐10, as well as others. Drug Dev Res 64:181–194, 2005. © 2005 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
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