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Sarilumab for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis: results of a Phase II, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (ALIGN)

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVES: The ALIGN study (NCT01061723) evaluated the efficacy and safety of sarilumab, the first fully human monoclonal antibody against interleukin-6 receptor-alpha (IL-6Ralpha), in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

METHODS: Patients with active AS despite conventional treatment were randomised to placebo, or one of five subcutaneous dose regimens of sarilumab (100, 150 or 200 mg every other week, or 100 or 150 mg every week), for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was the percentage of patients achieving the Axial SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) 20 response criteria at week 12. Secondary endpoints included ASAS40 response, ASAS partial remission, AS Disease Activity Score, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) value, and safety.

RESULTS: Baseline demographic and disease characteristics of the 301 patients enrolled were similar across treatment groups. At week 12, there was no statistically significant difference in ASAS20 response rate between placebo (ASAS20 = 24.0%) and any sarilumab dose group. A significantly greater reduction in hs-CRP value was achieved with the higher sarilumab doses versus placebo. No other statistically significant differences were evident for secondary efficacy endpoints.The most common treatment-emergent adverse events reported for sarilumab included infections (non-serious), neutropenia, and increase in alanine aminotransferase. No cases of tuberculosis, opportunistic, or fungal infections, or bowel perforations were reported. Seven patients experienced a treatment-emergent serious adverse event (all in sarilumab treatment groups). No deaths occurred.

CONCLUSIONS: The ALIGN study shows that IL-6Ralpha blockade with sarilumab was not an effective treatment for AS. Sarilumab was generally well tolerated with a manageable safety profile.

Golimumab 3-year safety update: an analysis of pooled data from the long-term extensions of randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials conducted in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To assess pooled golimumab safety up to year 3 of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) trials.

METHODS: Golimumab 50 and 100 mg, administered subcutaneously (SC) every 4 weeks (q4wk), were assessed in patients with active RA (methotrexate-naive, methotrexate-experienced and anti-TNF (tumour necrosis factor)-experienced), PsA or AS, despite conventional therapy. Placebo control continued up to week (wk) 24 (wk 52, methotrexate-naive), with early escape at wk 16 (wk 28, methotrexate-naive); subsequently, all patients received golimumab 50 or 100 mg q4wk. After the blinded controlled period, golimumab doses could be adjusted per investigator discretion. Pooled safety analyses reported herein include data from placebo-controlled and uncontrolled study periods up to wk 160. Determinations of incidences/100 patient-years (pt-yrs) for rare events also included RA patients from a phase IIb trial.

RESULTS: Across five phase III trials of SC golimumab, 639 patients received placebo and 2226 received golimumab 50 mg (n=1249) and/or 100 mg (n=1501) up to wk 160 (patients may be included in more than one group because non-responders were allowed early escape); 1179 patients were treated for > /=156 weeks. For placebo, golimumab 50 mg and golimumab 100 mg, respective adverse event incidences/100 pt-yrs (95% CIs) up to wk 160 were: 0.28 (0.01 to 1.56), 0.30 (0.12 to 0.62), 0.41 (0.23 to 0.69) for death; 5.31 (3.20 to 8.30), 3.03 (2.36 to 3.82), 5.09 (4.36 to 5.90) for serious infection; 0.00 (0.00 to 0.84), 0.17 (0.05 to 0.44), 0.35 (0.18 to 0.62) for tuberculosis; 0.00 (0.00 to 0.84), 0.13 (0.03 to 0.38), 0.24 (0.10 to 0.46) for opportunistic infection; 0.00 (0.00 to 0.84), 0.00 (0.00 to 0.13), 0.12 (0.03 to 0.30) for demyelination; and 0.00 (0.00 to 0.84), 0.04 (0.00 to 0.24), 0.18 (0.06 to 0.38) for lymphoma.

CONCLUSIONS: SC golimumab safety up to 3 years remained consistent with that of other TNF antagonists. Golimumab 100 mg showed numerically higher incidences of serious infections, demyelinating events and lymphoma than 50 mg; safety follow-up up to year 5 continues.

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is associated with hypophosphataemia: a case-control study

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is an iatrogenic fibrosing disorder that primarily affects individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) following exposure to gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs). Derangements of calcium and phosphorus have been reported in patients with NSF. The aim of this study was to investigate potential factors in addition to GBCA exposure that may be involved in the pathogenesis of NSF. We hypothesized that patients with stage 5 CKD and NSF would manifest greater alterations in calcium, phosphorus and fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) levels than those who do not have NSF.

METHODS: Levels of phosphorus, calcium, FGF23 and 25-hydroxy-vitamin D were measured in 10 patients with stage 5 CKD and biopsy-proven NSF and in 19 patients with stage 5 CKD without NSF. Statistical analyses were performed using Fisher's exact test for categorical variables and the Kruskal-Wallis test for continuous variables.

RESULTS: Patients with NSF had significantly lower phosphorus levels compared with controls (P = 0.01). There were no significant differences between NSF patients and controls in calcium, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, intact parathyroid hormone or FGF23 levels.

CONCLUSION: Differences in phosphorus metabolism may exist between patients with stage 5 CKD and NSF compared with patients with stage 5 CKD without NSF. British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved.

Insights into the efficacy of golimumab plus methotrexate in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who discontinued prior anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy: post-hoc analyses from the GO-AFTER study

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate golimumab in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and previous tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) inhibitor use.

METHODS: Patients (n=461) previously receiving > /=1 TNF inhibitor were randomised to subcutaneous injections of placebo, golimumab 50 mg or golimumab 100 mg q4 weeks. Primary endpoint ( > /=20% improvement in American College of Rheumatology (ACR20) criteria at week 14) findings have been reported for all patients in the trial. Reported herein are further assessments of efficacy/safety among patients receiving golimumab+methotrexate (MTX).

RESULTS: Among efficacy-evaluable patients who received MTX at baseline, more receiving golimumab+MTX (n=201) than placebo+MTX (n=103) achieved ACR20 (40.8% vs 14.6%), ACR50 (20.9% vs 3.9%), and ACR70 (11.4% vs 2.9%) responses at week 24. Among the 137 patients who had received only one prior TNF inhibitor (adalimumab, n=33; etanercept, n=47; and infliximab, n=57), week 24 ACR20 rates were 30.3%, 46.8% and 50.9%, respectively, and thus lowest among those who previously used adalimumab. ACR20 response rates were 44.5% (61/137), 36.2% (17/47) and 23.5% (4/17) among patients who had received one, two or three TNF inhibitors, respectively. Adverse event (AE) rates were comparable across type/number of prior anti-TNF agents, but appeared somewhat higher among patients who discontinued previous TNF inhibitor(s) due to intolerance (37/49, 75.5%) versus lack of efficacy (LOE, 113/191, 59.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with active RA previously treated with > /=1 TNF inhibitor had clinically relevant improvement with golimumab+MTX, which appeared somewhat enhanced among those who received only etanercept or infliximab as their prior TNF inhibitor. Golimumab+MTX safety appeared similar across patients, regardless of TNF inhibitor(s) previously used, with fewer AEs occurring among patients who discontinued prior therapy for LOE. already granted under a licence) please go to

Prevalence of comorbidities in rheumatoid arthritis and evaluation of their monitoring: results of an international, cross-sectional study (COMORA)

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm


PATIENTS with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of developing comorbid conditions.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prevalence of comorbidities and compare their management in RA patients from different countries worldwide.

METHODS: STUDY DESIGN: international, cross-sectional.

PATIENTS: consecutive RA patients.

DATA COLLECTED: demographics, disease characteristics (activity, severity, treatment), comorbidities (cardiovascular, infections, cancer, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, osteoporosis and psychiatric disorders).

RESULTS: Of 4586 patients recruited in 17 participating countries, 3920 were analysed (age, 56+/-13 years; disease duration, 10+/-9 years (mean+/-SD); female gender, 82%; DAS28 (Disease Activity Score using 28 joints)-erythrocyte sedimentation rate, 3.7+/-1.6 (mean+/-SD); Health Assessment Questionnaire, 1.0+/-0.7 (mean+/-SD); past or current methotrexate use, 89%; past or current use of biological agents, 39%. The most frequently associated diseases (past or current) were: depression, 15%; asthma, 6.6%; cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke), 6%; solid malignancies (excluding basal cell carcinoma), 4.5%; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3.5%. High intercountry variability was observed for both the prevalence of comorbidities and the proportion of subjects complying with recommendations for preventing and managing comorbidities. The systematic evaluation of comorbidities in this study detected abnormalities in vital signs, such as elevated blood pressure in 11.2%, and identified conditions that manifest as laboratory test abnormalities, such as hyperglycaemia in 3.3% and hyperlipidaemia in 8.3%.

CONCLUSIONS: Among RA patients, there is a high prevalence of comorbidities and their risk factors. In this multinational sample, variability among countries was wide, not only in prevalence but also in compliance with recommendations for preventing and managing these comorbidities. Systematic measurement of vital signs and laboratory testing detects otherwise unrecognised comorbid conditions.

The effect of golimumab on haemoglobin levels in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of golimumab on haemoglobin levels in patients with RA, PsA or AS.

METHODS: Secondary analysis was performed on integrated data from five randomized controlled studies: three RA, one PsA and one AS (2303 patients total). Golimumab 50 or 100 mg was injected s.c. every 4 weeks with or without MTX. Control groups received placebo injections plus MTX or background therapy. Patients with haemoglobin levels below the age- and sex-specific normal ranges were considered to have anaemia. Ferritin levels were used to distinguish anaemia of mixed aetiology ( > /= 15 and < 60 ng/ml) and anaemia of inflammation ( > /= 60 ng/ml). Changes from baseline to weeks 14 and 24 in haemoglobin level were compared between treatment groups using an analysis of variance on the van der Waerden normal scores.

RESULTS: At baseline, 21% of RA patients, 9% of PsA patients and 15% of AS patients had anaemia. Of these, 24%, 57% and 25%, respectively, had anaemia of inflammation. The median increase from baseline to week 14 in the haemoglobin level of anaemic patients was 0.3 g/dl in the control group and 0.9 g/dl in the golimumab group (P < 0.001). Haemoglobin levels improved within the subgroups of patients with anaemia of mixed aetiology (control, 0.4 g/dl vs golimumab, 0.7 g/dl) (P = 0.305) and with anaemia of inflammation (0.2 vs 1.4 g/dl, respectively) (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Compared with the control group, patients receiving golimumab treatment had significantly improved haemoglobin levels, particularly among patients with anaemia of inflammation.

Validation of a screening instrument for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To develop and pilot test a screening tool to identify cases of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) among patients exposed to gadolinium-containing contrast agents.

METHODS: Sixty English-speaking subjects were enrolled: 10 subjects diagnosed as having NSF, 10 subjects with other fibrosing skin diseases, 20 subjects with nonfibrosing skin diseases, and 20 subjects without a skin disease. Subjects answered a questionnaire with 8 closed-ended (yes/no) questions focusing on cutaneous and musculoskeletal manifestations of NSF. The subjects were evaluated by a dermatologist for the presence of clinical signs of NSF. We compared the number of affirmative responses in the NSF group to those in the other groups, and the optimal cutoff that would differentiate groups was calculated. Discrimination, positive and negative predictive values, and internal consistency were also assessed.

RESULTS: Subjects in the NSF group tended to provide more affirmative answers. Using a cutoff of >/=3 affirmative responses yields a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 70%, with an area under the curve of 0.85, indicating good discrimination. Sensitivity analysis using modified control group or weighted scores exhibited only slightly better discriminatory power. The positive predictive value of the questionnaire ranged from 0.3% to 39.7%, and its negative predictive values ranged from 97% to >99% with the different proposed prevalence estimates. The instrument had high internal consistency.

CONCLUSION: This pilot study demonstrates that this questionnaire has both high internal consistency and good discriminatory ability. Thus, it may be used to screen populations for NSF.

Systemic sclerosis without antinuclear antibodies or Raynaud's phenomenon: a multicentre study in the prospective EULAR Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) database

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To assess patients with SSc who present without circulating ANAs or RP.

METHODS: Five thousand three hundred and ninety patients who fulfilled the ACR criteria for SSc and were enrolled in the EULAR Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) database were screened for the absence of both RP and circulating ANA. To differentiate SSc from its mimics, additional information was gathered using a standardized questionnaire.

RESULTS: Five thousand three hundred and seventy-eight (99.8%) of the 5390 SSc patients in the EUSTAR database had either detectable ANA or a history of RP. Twelve (0.2%) patients lacked both circulating ANA and RP. Details of the medical history could be obtained for seven patients. Three cases were compatible with ANA-negative and RP-negative SSc and were not typical of any known SSc mimic. Four patients had a malignancy: two had breast cancer, one had multiple myeloma with possible scleromyxoedema and one had bladder carcinoma. There was no temporal relationship between the onset of skin fibrosis and that of the tumour. Although no patient with confirmed nephrogenic systemic fibrosis was identified among the cases of ANA-negative and RP-negative SSc, the presentation of one patient could be compatible with that of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis other than for the absence of chronic kidney disease or of known prior gadolinium exposure.

CONCLUSION: We have identified a very small subgroup of SSc patients who lack both circulating ANA and RP, none of whom fulfils the diagnostic criteria for any known SSc mimic. Prospective studies are needed to elucidate the clinical presentation, evolution and outcome of such patients.

Golimumab in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who have previous experience with tumour necrosis factor inhibitors: results of a long-term extension of the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled GO-AFTER study through week 160

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess long-term golimumab therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who discontinued previous tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) inhibitor(s) for any reason.

METHODS: Results through week 24 of this multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of active RA ( > /=4 tender, > /=4 swollen joints) were previously reported. Patients received placebo (Group 1), 50 mg golimumab (Group 2) or 100 mg golimumab (Group 3) subcutaneous injections every 4 weeks. Patients from Groups 1 and 2 with < 20% improvement in tender/swollen joints at week 16 early escaped to golimumab 50 mg and 100 mg, respectively. At week 24, Group 1 patients crossed over to golimumab 50 mg, Group 2 continued golimumab 50/100 mg per escape status and Group 3 maintained dosing. Data through week 160 are reported.

RESULTS: 459 of the 461 randomised patients were treated; 236/459 (51%) continued treatment through week 160. From week 24 to week 100, ACR20 ( > /=20% improvement in American College of Rheumatology criteria) response and > /=0.25 unit HAQ (Health Assessment Questionnaire) improvement were sustained in 70-73% and 75-81% of responding patients, respectively. Overall at week 160, 63%, 67% and 57% of patients achieved ACR20 response and 59%, 65% and 64% had HAQ improvement > /=0.25 unit in Groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Adjusted for follow-up duration, adverse event incidences (95% CI) per 100 patient-years among patients treated with golimumab 50 mg and 100 mg were 4.70 (2.63 to 7.75) and 8.07 (6.02 to 10.58) for serious infection, 0.95 (0.20 to 2.77) and 2.04 (1.09 to 3.49) for malignancy and 0.00 (0.00 to 0.94) and 0.62 (0.17 to 1.59) for death, respectively.

CONCLUSION: In patients with active RA who discontinued previous TNF-antagonist treatment, golimumab 50 and 100 mg injections every 4 weeks yielded sustained improvements in signs/symptoms and physical function in approximately 57-67% of patients who continued treatment. Golimumab safety was consistent with other anti-TNF agents, although definitive conclusions regarding long-term safety require further monitoring.

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: clinicopathological definition and workup recommendations

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

BACKGROUND: The condition that came to be known as nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) was first reported in 2000 and, in 2001, was termed "nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy." Since then, NSF has been the subject of a wide-ranging multidisciplinary medical investigation that has proven an indisputable link to renal disease and a compelling association with the increasing use of gadolinium-containing magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents in the renally impaired.

OBJECTIVE: Although precise causation and risk factors continue to be elucidated, the need for reproducible prospective epidemiologic data demands clear and objective criteria for the diagnosis of NSF.

METHODS: Experts in NSF diagnosis used their experience and the resources of the Yale International NSF Registry to develop a clinicopathological diagnostic system for NSF.

RESULTS: A consensus scoring system incorporating a clinical and histopathological atlas was devised to guide and standardize the evaluation and diagnosis of NSF.

LIMITATIONS: There is no laboratory test that can be used as a gold standard to diagnose NSF. To overcome this, we relied on classic clinicopathological presentations, published sources, and consensus clinical expertise to ensure the integrity of the study population.

CONCLUSION: The clinicopathological definition of NSF provides guidance to physicians for the evaluation and diagnosis of NSF. Clinical, laboratory, and histopathological features comprise a schema that excludes conditions mimicking NSF while facilitating its reproducible and accurate diagnosis, even among physicians with little prior clinical experience with this entity. This definition can serve as a working diagnostic standard for future research and as the basis for adjudicating borderline cases. All rights reserved.

Quantitative assessment of dermal cellularity in nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: a diagnostic aid

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

BACKGROUND: Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) affects patients with impaired renal function who have received gadolinium-containing contrast agents (GCCAs). Increased dermal cellularity is a key diagnostic feature of NSF, however, the histologic findings can be subtle.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether dermal cellularity in skin biopsy specimens from NSF cases: (1) differs significantly from that of controls; and (2) correlates with duration of the skin lesions, level of plasma creatinine, GCCA dose, or a combination of these.

METHODS: Seventeen NSF skin biopsy specimens and age-, sex-, and site-matched controls were retrieved from the dermatopathology files of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dermal cellularity was manually quantified on hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections and patient medical records were reviewed for demographic and clinical data.

RESULTS: NSF cases showed a mean dermal cellularity of 70.8/high-power field (control mean: 14.4/high-power field, P < .001) and a cut-off range of 19 to 26/high-power field was established. No significant correlation was identified between dermal cellularity and demographic and clinical data.

LIMITATIONS: In this retrospective analysis, duration of skin lesion was defined as the interval from most recent prior GCCA study, rather than the actual clinical onset, to time of skin biopsy, and the cumulative GCCA dose may reflect a minimum if GCCA was received at an outside institution.

CONCLUSION: Enumeration of dermal cellularity on hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections can aid in the histologic diagnosis of NSF in the setting of chronic kidney disease and GCCA exposure and is independent of patient age, sex, plasma creatinine, time from last GCCA exposure, and GCCA dose. All rights reserved.

The 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis: Phase 2 methodological report

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: The American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism have developed new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of Phase 2 of the development process was to achieve expert consensus on the clinical and laboratory variables that should contribute to the final criteria set.

METHODS: Twenty-four expert RA clinicians (12 from Europe and 12 from North America) participated in Phase 2. A consensus-based decision analysis approach was used to identify factors (and their relative weights) that influence the probability of "developing RA," complemented by data from the Phase 1 study. Patient case scenarios were used to identify and reach consensus on factors important in determining the probability of RA development. Decision analytic software was used to derive the relative weights for each of the factors and their categories, using choice-based conjoint analysis.

RESULTS: The expert panel agreed that the new classification criteria should be applied to individuals with undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis in whom at least 1 joint is deemed by an expert assessor to be swollen, indicating definite synovitis. In this clinical setting, they identified 4 additional criteria as being important: number of joints involved and site of involvement, serologic abnormality, acute-phase response, and duration of symptoms in the involved joints. These criteria were consistent with those identified in the Phase 1 data-driven approach.

CONCLUSION: The consensus-based, decision analysis approach used in Phase 2 complemented the Phase 1 efforts. The 4 criteria and their relative weights form the basis of the final criteria set.

The 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis: methodological report phase I

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To apply a data-driven approach to investigate, in patients newly presenting with undifferentiated inflammatory synovitis, key variables that discriminate the subset of patients at sufficiently high risk of persistent or erosive disease for the purpose of developing new criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS: In this first phase of the collaborative effort of the American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism to develop new criteria for RA, a pooled analysis of early arthritis cohorts made available by the respective investigators is presented. All the variables associated with the gold standard of treatment with methotrexate during the first year after enrolment were first identified. Principal component analysis was then used to identify among the significant variables those sets that represent similar domains. In a final step, from each domain one representative variable was extracted, all of which were then tested for their independent effects in a multivariate regression model. From the OR in that final model, the relative weight of each variable was estimated.

RESULTS: The final domains and variables identified by this process (and their relative weights) were: swelling of a metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP; 1.5), swelling of a proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP; 1.5), swelling of the wrist (1.5), tenderness of the hand (ie, MCP, PIP or wrist (2)), acute phase reaction (ie, C reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation rate and weights for moderate or high elevations of either one (1 for moderate, 2 for high elevation)) and serological abnormalities (ie, rheumatoid factors or anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, again with separate weights for moderate or high elevations (2 and 4, respectively)).

CONCLUSION: The results of this first phase were subsequently used in the second phase of the project, which is reported in a separate methodological paper, and for derivation of the final set of criteria.

2010 Rheumatoid arthritis classification criteria: an American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism collaborative initiative

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: The 1987 American College of Rheumatology (ACR; formerly, the American Rheumatism Association) classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been criticized for their lack of sensitivity in early disease. This work was undertaken to develop new classification criteria for RA.

METHODS: A joint working group from the ACR and the European League Against Rheumatism developed, in 3 phases, a new approach to classifying RA. The work focused on identifying, among patients newly presenting with undifferentiated inflammatory synovitis, factors that best discriminated between those who were and those who were not at high risk for persistent and/or erosive disease--this being the appropriate current paradigm underlying the disease construct "rheumatoid arthritis."

RESULTS: In the new criteria set, classification as "definite RA" is based on the confirmed presence of synovitis in at least 1 joint, absence of an alternative diagnosis that better explains the synovitis, and achievement of a total score of 6 or greater (of a possible 10) from the individual scores in 4 domains: number and site of involved joints (score range 0-5), serologic abnormality (score range 0-3), elevated acute-phase response (score range 0-1), and symptom duration (2 levels; range 0-1).

CONCLUSION: This new classification system redefines the current paradigm of RA by focusing on features at earlier stages of disease that are associated with persistent and/or erosive disease, rather than defining the disease by its late-stage features. This will refocus attention on the important need for earlier diagnosis and institution of effective disease-suppressing therapy to prevent or minimize the occurrence of the undesirable sequelae that currently comprise the paradigm underlying the disease construct "rheumatoid arthritis."

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis: a pathologic study of autopsy cases

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

CONTEXT: Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is a rare but serious disorder initially described as a purely dermatologic process. Isolated autopsy reports have described multiorgan involvement by this disease.

OBJECTIVE: To further illustrate the varied and systemic involvement of NSF by describing the autopsy experience at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

DESIGN: We describe the findings in a series of 4 autopsy cases of patients diagnosed with NSF. This report describes the history of renal dysfunction, exposure to gadolinium-containing contrast agents, specific laboratory parameters, and the extent of systemic involvement identified by postmortem examination.

RESULTS: Causes of death included systemic thromboembolic disease (n = 3) and pneumonia (n = 1). Laboratory parameters and type, dose, or timing of gadolinium-containing contrast-agent exposure did not correlate with clinical findings and outcomes. All patients demonstrated cutaneous manifestations of the disease and nephrocalcinosis, with some exhibiting calcification and fibrosis of the dura, thyroid, and heart including the cardiac conduction system, on postmortem examination. Soft tissue calcification was associated with concurrent hyperparathyroidism or high serum parathyroid hormone levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Thromboembolic disease can be a significant clinical complication of NSF. Patients with NSF may also develop characteristic histologic features of fibrosis and calcification in multiple organs, with significant morbidity and mortality. This autopsy series highlights the variability of systemic manifestations of NSF.

Retrospective assessment of prevalence of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) after implementation of a new guideline for the use of gadobenate dimeglumine as a sole contrast agent for magnetic resonance examination in renally impaired patients

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

From May 2007 to January 2008, patients with Stage 3-5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) undergoing gadobenate dimeglumine (GBD)-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) examinations were included in the retrospective investigation. The electronic medical records were reviewed to assess the prevalence of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in renally impaired patients underwent GBD-enhanced MR examinations. In all, 250 patients (98 men, mean age 72.6 years) were included: 97% of the patients had Stage 3 CKD (estimated GFR 30-59 mL/min/1.73 m(2)); 37% had been exclusively exposed to GBD. The remaining were exposed to GBD and other gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs). The mean dose of GBD was 22 mL (standard deviation [SD], 11.2). Including exposure to other GBCAs, the mean cumulative dose of gadolinium was 61 mL (SD, 62.3). A total of 206 patients (82%) had skin examinations following the last GBD administration (mean duration, 108 days). No evidence of suspected or diagnosed NSF was found. In conclusion, on the basis of a retrospective chart review there was no skin evidence of NSF in predominantly Stage 3 CKD patients who were exposed to GBD at an average follow-up of 108 days, either solely or in combination with other GBCAs. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2009;30:1335-1340. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis after gadopentetate dimeglumine exposure: case series of 36 patients

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

PURPOSE: To retrospectively assess the association between gadopentetate dimeglumine exposure at magnetic resonance imaging and the development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This HIPAA-compliant study had institutional review board approval. Informed consent was waived. A search of medical and pathologic records was performed to identify patients with NSF that was diagnosed between January 1998 and December 2007. Patients with known exposure to gadolinium-based contrast agents other than gadopentetate dimeglumine were excluded. Medical records were then reviewed for gadopentetate dimeglumine exposure, renal status, concomitant diseases, timing of NSF symptom onset, date of NSF diagnosis, and clinical outcome. Skin gadolinium deposition was assessed for those patients with adequate available tissue. Spearman rank correlations were estimated to assess the relationship between the dose of gadopentetate dimeglumine and the time to onset of NSF.

RESULTS: Thirty-six patients (mean age, 62.6 years; range, 30-83 years) had been exposed to gadopentetate dimeglumine prior to NSF onset. All had stage 5 chronic kidney disease and all but one were undergoing dialysis at the time of exposure. NSF developed within 3 months after the last gadopentetate dimeglumine exposure (range, 1-59 months) in 21 (66%) of 32 patients. The patients had been exposed to median cumulative gadopentetate dimeglumine volumes of 35, 40, 85, and 117.5 mL over the 3, 12, and 24 months and up to 11 years preceding the onset of NSF, respectively. Patients who received higher cumulative and total gadopentetate dimeglumine doses had a higher risk of developing NSF than did those who received lower doses (odds ratio = 1.2). Twenty (56%) of 36 patients died, with a median interval of 18 months between NSF symptom onset and death.

CONCLUSION: NSF develops in patients with renal impairment after exposure to gadopentetate dimeglumine in a dose- and time-dependent manner.


E-selectin, interleukin 18, serum amyloid a, and matrix metalloproteinase 9 are associated with clinical response to golimumab plus methotrexate in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis despite methotrexate therapy

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of golimumab (human monoclonal antibody to tumor necrosis factor-alpha) plus methotrexate (MTX) on selected inflammatory biomarkers, and to determine if these effects predict clinical response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS: Sera from adults with active RA despite MTX therapy, who received subcutaneous injections of placebo + MTX (MTX alone, n = 34) or golimumab 50 or 100 mg every 2 or 4 weeks + MTX (n = 137), were analyzed for levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), interleukin 18 (IL-18), E-selectin, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1).

RESULTS: Golimumab + MTX treatment significantly decreased serum CRP, SAA, IL-18, E-selectin, TIMP-1, and MMP-9 levels (median percent changes of -4.1% to -74.3% across treatment groups) versus MTX alone (-5.8% to 9.7%) when first measured at Week 4; decreases were sustained through Week 16. Larger magnitudes of decrease in all biomarkers were observed for clinical responders versus nonresponders. For golimumab + MTX, regression analyses including all biomarkers and select clinical measures showed that reductions in levels of several markers (SAA, E-selectin, MMP-9) as early as Week 4 correlated significantly with improvement in swollen joint count (SJC) at Week 16, as did reductions in E-selectin with improvement in tender joint count at Week 16. After accounting for the biomarkers, however, treatment group was no longer significant for SJC.

CONCLUSION: Significant decreases in several inflammatory biomarkers were associated with golimumab + MTX therapy. Decreases in serum levels of SAA, E-selectin, and MMP-9 at Week 4 may be useful in predicting clinical response at Week 16.

Physician ability to assess rheumatoid arthritis disease activity using an electronic medical record-based disease activity calculator

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To assess physicians' concordance with Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) categories calculated by an electronic medical record (EMR)-embedded disease activity calculator, as well as attitudes toward this application.

METHODS: Fifteen rheumatologists used the EMR-embedded disease activity calculator to predict a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) DAS28 disease activity category at the time of each clinical encounter.

RESULTS: Physician-predicted DAS28 disease activity categories ranged from high ( > 5.1, 15% of cohort, 66 of 429 patient visits) to moderate ( > 3.2-5.1, 21% of cohort, 90 of 429 patient visits) to low (2.6-3.2, 29% of cohort, 123 of 429 patient visits) to remission ( < 2.6, 35% of cohort, 150 of 429 patient visits). Overall concordance between calculated DAS28 results and physician-predicted RA disease activity was 64%. Using either the physician-predicted or the calculated DAS28 category as the gold standard, accuracy was greatest for patients in remission (75% and 88% accuracy, respectively) and those with high disease activity (68% and 79% accuracy, respectively), and less for patients with moderate (48% and 62% accuracy, respectively) or low disease activity (62% and 31% accuracy, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Accurate physician prediction of DAS28 remission and high disease activity categories, even without immediate availability of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate or the C-reactive protein level at the time of the visit, may be used to guide quantitatively driven outpatient RA management.

A rheumatology-specific informatics-based application with a disease activity calculator

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 4:16pm

OBJECTIVE: To design a rheumatology-specific tool with a disease activity calculator integrated into the electronic medical records (EMRs) at our institution and assess physicians' attitudes toward the use of this tool.

METHODS: The Rheumatology OnCall (ROC) application culls rheumatology-pertinent data from our institution's laboratory, microbiology, pathology, radiology, and pharmacy information systems. Attending rheumatologists and rheumatology fellows accessed the ROC and disease activity calculator during outpatient visits at the time of the clinical encounter.

RESULTS: During the 12-week study period, 15 physicians used the ROC application and the disease activity calculator during 474 and 429 outpatient clinic visits, respectively. In weekly survey responses, physicians reported that use of the ROC interface improved patient care in 140 (78%) of 179 visits, and that the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) results at the time of the visit would not have changed patient management in 157 (88%) of these, although seeing a trend in DAS28 was useful in 149 (96%) of 156 visits. At the study's conclusion, most physicians reported that the ROC application was useful (11 of 12 physicians) and that seeing a trend in DAS28 improved daily patient care (12 of 13 physicians).

CONCLUSION: The ROC application is useful in daily rheumatologic care, and the disease activity calculator facilitates management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, widespread acceptance and use of such tools depend upon the general acceptance of and access to EMRs in the clinical setting. The utility of the disease activity calculator may be limited by the lack of available acute-phase reactant results at the time of the clinical encounter.