Polymorphisms and pharmacogenomics for the toxicity of methotrexate monotherapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Methotrexate (MTX) is widely used and considered a first-line disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, 10% to 30% of patients discontinue therapy within a year of starting the treatment, usually because of undesirable side effects. Many of the relevant genes have been investigated to estimate the association between gene polymorphisms and MTX toxicity in RA patients, although inconsistent results have been reported.


We searched EMBASE and PubMed in February 2016 for polymorphisms and pharmacogenomics study of the toxicity of MTX monotherapy in RA patients. The meta-analysis was stratified by whether genetic variants associated with MTX toxicity.


A total of 42 publications that included 28 genes with 88 gene SNPs associated with the transporters, enzymes, and metabolites of MTX or the progression of RA were included in the SR, and 31 studies were included in 7 meta-analyses. The meta-analysis showed a significant association between the toxicity of MTX and the RFC-1 80G > A (rs1051266) polymorphism in the European RA patients.


RFC-1 80G > A (rs1051266) polymorphism was associated with MTX toxicity, and larger and more stringent study designs may provide more accurate results for the effect of these SNPs on the MTX toxicity.

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