Methotrexate (MTX) has emerged as first-line therapy for early moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but individual variation in treatment response remains unexplained. We tested the associations between 863 known pharmacogenetic variants and MTX response in 471 Treatment of Early Aggressive Rheumatoid Arthritis Trial participants with early RA. Efficacy and toxicity were modeled using multiple regression, adjusted for demographic and clinical covariates. Penalized regression models were used to test joint associations of markers and/or covariates with the outcomes. The strongest genetic associations with efficacy were in CHST11 (five markers with P<0.003), encoding carbohydrate (chondroitin 4) sulfotransferase 11. Top markers associated with MTX toxicity were in the cytochrome p450 genes CYP20A1 and CYP39A1, solute carrier genes SLC22A2 and SLC7A7, and the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase gene ALDH2. The selected markers explained a consistently higher proportion of variation in toxicity than efficacy. These findings could inform future development of personalized therapeutic approaches. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.