[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) in determining the severity and outcome of complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSI) caused by methicillin (meticillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is controversial. We evaluated potential associations between clinical outcome and PVL status by using MRSA isolates from patients enrolled in two large, multinational phase three clinical trials assessing telavancin for the treatment of cSSSI (the ATLAS program). MRSA isolates from microbiologically evaluable patients were genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and PCR for pvl and 31 other putative virulence determinants. A single baseline pathogen of MRSA was isolated from 522 microbiologically evaluable patients (25.1%) among 2,079 randomized patients. Of these MRSA isolates, 83.2% (432/519) exhibited the USA300 PFGE genotype and 89.1% (465/522) were pvl positive. Patients with pvl-positive MRSA were more likely than those with pvl-negative MRSA to be young, to be North American, and to present with major abscesses (P < 0.001 for each). Patients were significantly more likely to be cured if they were infected with pvl-positive MRSA than if they were infected with pvl-negative MRSA (91.6% versus 80.7%; P = 0.015). This observation remained statistically significant after adjustment for presence of abscess, fever, or leukocytosis; infection size; diabetes; patient age; and study medication received. The fnbA, cna, sdrC, map-eap, sed, seg, sei, sej, SCCmec type IV, and agr group II genes were also associated with clinical response (P < 0.05). This contemporary, international study demonstrates that pvl was not the primary determinant of outcome in patients with MRSA cSSSI.