Early radiological progression remains associated with long-term joint damage in real-world rheumatoid arthritis patients treated to the target of remission

G. A. Versteeg*, L. M.M. Steunebrink, H. E. Vonkeman, P. M. Ten Klooster, A. E. Van Der Bijl, M. A.F.J. Van De Laar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate radiological damage and to explore characteristics associated with radiological progression in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated to the target of remission in a real-world setting. Method: Baseline to 6 year follow-up data were used from an observational early RA cohort. Radiographs of hands and feet at baseline, 6 months, and 1, 3, and 6 years were scored using the modified Sharp/van der Heijde score (SHS). The threshold for rapid radiological progression (RRP) after 6 months was based on the calculated smallest detectable change of 3.95. Negative binomial generalized linear mixed model and logistic regression analyses were performed to examine which variables were associated with RRP and 6 year radiological progression. Results: Most radiological damage occurred in the first year of treatment [median 2.0 interquartile range (IQR) 1.0–4.0 SHS points] compared to the subsequent 5 years of follow-up (median 3.0 IQR 1.0–5.0 SHS points). While low disease activity was achieved within 6 months on average, 18.8% of the patients developed RRP. Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) positivity [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.42, p = 0.03], baseline erosive disease (IRR 1.60, p = 0.02), and RRP (IRR 3.28, p < 0.001) were associated with 6 year radiological progression. Erosive disease was the strongest predictor of RRP (odds ratio 8.8, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Long-term radiological outcome is limited in most real-world RA patients treated to the target of remission, but RRP still occurs. Anti-CCP positivity, baseline erosive disease, and RRP remain associated with long-term radiological outcome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian journal of rheumatology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Jun 2021

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