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Int J Rheumatol. 2012;2012:978396. doi: 10.1155/2012/978396. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Markers of treatment response to methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis: where do we stand?

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Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Methotrexate (MTX) is the most commonly used disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, despite its efficacy and affordability, additional DMARDs or biologic agents are often required in order to achieve the recommended goals of low disease activity or remission. Although well tolerated by most, some patients develop important side effects such as cytopenias, gastrointestinal adverse events (stomatitis, nausea), or abnormal liver function tests, which may limit its use and may result in additional health care costs. Given the clinical implications of widespread use of MTX in RA, various studies have evaluated the role of potential biomarkers in predicting treatment effectiveness of MTX. These biomarkers include RBC MTX polyglutamate (PG) levels; genetic variation in genes from relevant biological and metabolic pathways; gene expression profiles; serum proteins. This paper provides an update on the current data regarding biomarkers of treatment response to MTX.

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