Objective To determine association of erythrocyte methotrexate polyglutamates (MTX-PG) with disease activity and adverse effects in a prospective juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) cohort.
Methods One hundred and thirteen JIA patients were followed from MTX start until 12 months. Erythrocyte MTX-PGs with 1–5 glutamate residues were measured at 3 months with tandem mass spectrometry. The outcomes were Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score (JADAS)-27 and adverse effects. To determine associations of MTX-PGs with JADAS-27 at 3 months and during 1 year of MTX treatment, linear regression and linear mixed-model analyses were used. To determine associations of MTX-PGs with adverse effects during 1 year of MTX treatment, logistic regression was used. Analyses were corrected for JADAS-27 at baseline and co-medication.
Results Median JADAS-27 decreased from 12.7 (IQR: 7.8–18.2) at baseline to 2.9 (IQR: 0.1–6.5) at 12 months. Higher concentrations of MTX-PG3 (β: −0.006, p=0.005), MTX-PG4 (β: −0.015, p=0.004), MTX-PG5 (β: −0.051, p=0.011) and MTX-PG3–5 (β: −0.004, p=0.003) were associated with lower disease activity at 3 months. Higher concentrations of MTX-PG3 (β: −0.005, p=0.028), MTX-PG4 (β: −0.014, p=0.014), MTX-PG5 (β: −0.049, p=0.023) and MTX-PG3–5 (β: −0.004, p=0.018) were associated with lower disease activity over 1 year. None of the MTX-PGs was associated with adverse effects.
Conclusions In the first prospective study in JIA, long-chain MTX-PGs were associated with lower JADAS-27 at 3 months and during 1 year of MTX treatment. Erythrocyte MTX-PG could be a plausible candidate for therapeutic drug monitoring of MTX in JIA.
- Disease Activity
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
- DMARDs (synthetic)