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Identifying genetic predictors of methotrexate (MTX) treatment response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may have great importance for optimising drug doses required for clinical benefit without toxicity. In a group of 125 RA patients treated with MTX we investigated whether selected polymorphisms in genes relevant for MTX action (aminoimidazole-4-carboxiamide ribonucleotide transformylase, ATIC, and dihydrofolate reductase, DHFR) modulate disease activity and/or have impact on therapy side effects. The efficacy of treatment was estimated both by the disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28), based on EULAR criteria, and relative DAS28 (rDAS28) score. Adverse drug events (ADEs) were also recorded. RA patients were genotyped using the PCR-RFLP method, followed by an association study between ATIC -129T>G, DHFR -216T>C and DHFR -317A>G polymorphisms and the efficacy and toxicity of MTX. According to the EULAR response criteria, 96 RA patients (76.8%) were classified as responders (good/moderate response) and 29 (23.2%) as non-responders (poor response). rDAS28 values ranged from -0.01 to 0.80 (mean value 0.31±0.19). Among 125 patients enrolled in this study 39 experienced at least one side effect. The DHFR -317AA genotype was associated with the less favourable response (reduction in rDAS28 score, p=0.05). None of the analysed polymorphisms was associated with MTX toxicity. RA patients with DHFR-317AA genotype had less favourable response to MTX. Further studies in larger patient populations are necessary to confirm the relationship between the analysed polymorphisms and MTX treatment response.


Vera Milic, Biljana Jekic, Ljiljana Lukovic, Vera Bunjevacki, Jelena Milasin, Ivana Novakovic, Tatjana Damnjanovic, Branka Popovic, Nela Maksimovic, Nemanja Damjanov, Goran Radunovic, Nada Pejnovic, Maja Krajinovic. Association of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) -317AA genotype with poor response to methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical and experimental rheumatology. 2012 Mar-Apr;30(2):178-83

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PMID: 22324981

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