Systematic review of pharmacogenetic factors that influence high-dose methotrexate pharmacokinetics in pediatric malignancies

Zachary L. Taylor, Jesper Vang, Elixabet Lopez-Lopez, Natanja Oosterom, Torben Mikkelsen, Laura B. Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Methotrexate (MTX) is a mainstay therapeutic agent administered at high doses for the treatment of pediatric and adult malignancies, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, osteosarcoma, and lymphoma. Despite the vast evidence for clinical efficacy, high-dose MTX displays significant inter-individual pharmacokinetic variability. Delayed MTX clearance can lead to prolonged, elevated exposure, causing increased risks for nephrotoxicity, mucositis, seizures, and neutropenia. Numerous pharmacogenetic studies have investigated the effects of several genes and polymorphisms on MTX clearance in an attempt to better understand the pharmacokinetic variability and improve patient outcomes. To date, several genes and polymorphisms that affect MTX clearance have been identified. However, evidence for select genes have conflicting results or lack the necessary replication and validation needed to confirm their effects on MTX clearance. Therefore, we performed a systematic review to identify and then summarize the pharmacogenetic factors that influence high-dose MTX pharmacokinetics in pediatric malignancies. Using the PRISMA guidelines, we analyzed 58 articles and 24 different genes that were associated with transporter pharmacology or the folate transport pathway. We conclude that there is only one gene that reliably demonstrates an effect on MTX pharmacokinetics: SLCO1B1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2837
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Methotrexate
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Pharmacokinetics


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