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Folic acid pathway single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with methotrexate significant adverse events in United States veterans with rheumatoid arthritis

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2014 Vol.32, N°3
PI 0324, PF 0332
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PMID: 24447348 [PubMed]

Received: 27/04/2013
Accepted : 14/11/2013
In Press: 20/01/2014
Published: 26/05/2014


Methotrexate (MTX) is the cornerstone medication in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in enzymes of the folic acid pathway (folylpoly-gamma-glutamate synthetase [FPGS], gamma-glutamyl hydrolase [GGH], and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase [MTHFR]) associate with significant adverse events (SigAE).
Patients (n=319) enrolled in the Veterans Affairs RA (VARA) registry taking MTX were genotyped for HLA-DRB1-SE and the following SNPs: FPGS (rs7033913, rs10760503, rs10106), GGH (12548933, rs7010484, rs4617146, rs719235, rs11988534), MTHFR (rs1801131, rs1801133). AE were abstracted from the medical record using a structured instrument. SigAE were defined as an AE leading to MTX discontinuation. Covariates included: age, gender, race, RA antibody status, tobacco, RA disease duration between diagnosis and MTX course, Charlson-Deyo comorbidity index, glucocorticoids, use of prior RA medications, and mean 4-variable disease activity score. Cox regression was performed to determine factors associated with time-to-SigAE. A p-value ≤0.005 established significance in the final model.
The presence of ≥1 copy of the minor allele in MTHFR rs1801131 was associated with an increased hazard ratio (HR) of SigAE (HR 3.05, 95% CI 1.48-6.29, p-value 0.003 and HR 3.88, 95% CI 1.62-9.28, p-value 0.002 for heterozygotes and homozygotes for the minor allele, respectively). An interaction term, between FPGS rs7033913 heterozygotes and GGH rs11988534 homozygotes for the minor allele, had a p-value <0.0001.
RA subjects taking MTX may have decreased time-to-SigAE with ≥ 1 copy of the minor allele in MTHFR rs1801131. Further investigation is warranted, as these SNPs may indicate susceptibility to MTX toxicity.

Rheumatology Article