Pharmacogenetic of antirheumatic treatments: clinical implications

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Abstract

Preliminary pharmacogenetic data suggest that germline genetic informations might be of value in individualizing disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) therapy in various autoimmune chronic inflammatory diseases. Either DMARDs small molecules (DMARDs-SM) or DMARDs biological therapies (DMARDs-BT) might be selected for their lower toxicity or better efficacy based on single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes governing the metabolism of drugs, or the response of immune cells to proinflammatory molecules, or the proinflammatory molecular activity of immune cells. Data available for one DMARDs-SM, methotrexate, suggest that a careful assessment of the SNPs of four enzymes involved in the folate metabolism allow one to construct a genetic index of toxicity (toxicogenetic index) that might be employed in daily practice to find the patient's most at risk. Only the full knowledge of the various gene polymorphisms controlling the phenotypic manifestations of the inflammatory-immunological milieu of each rheumatic disease will allow one to obtain the clear definition of a personalized medicine. Few different cytokine gene SNPs seem to be of importance in determining the susceptibility to diseases, or the aggressiveness of diseases. The role of genetics in affecting a possible clinical response to DMARDs-BT targeting specific inflammatory molecules or their receptors still has to be defined. However, the available data suggest that cytokine (and/or receptors) gene SNPs might indeed play a role in determining the biological effects, hence the clinical effectiveness of DMARDs-BT. Crucial to this aim will be the prospective analysis of clinical benefits and safety on the basis of the at baseline stratification of gene SNPs in each chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease before starting any new DMARDs-SM or DMARDs-BT.

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