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1.  The rheumatoid arthritis treat-to-target trial: a cluster randomized trial within the Corrona rheumatology network 
Background
The treat-to-target (T2T) approach to the care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis involves using validated metrics to measure disease activity, frequent follow-up visits for patients with moderate to high disease activity, and escalation of therapy when patients have inadequate therapeutic response as assessed by standard disease activity scores. The study described is a newly launched cluster-randomized behavioral intervention to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of the T2T approach in US rheumatology practices. It is designed to identify patient and provider barriers to implementing T2T management. This initial paper focuses on the novel study design and methods created to provide these insights.
Methods/Design
This trial cluster-randomizes rheumatology practices from the existing Corrona network of private and academic sites rather than patients within sites or individual investigators to provide either T2T or usual care (UC) for qualified patients who meet the 2010 revised American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and have moderate to high disease activity. Specific medication choices are left to the investigator and patient, rather than being specified in the protocol. Enrollment is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, with 30 practices randomized and enrolling a minimum of 530 patients. During the 12-month follow-up, visits are mandated as frequently as monthly in patients with active disease in the T2T group and every 3 months for the UC group. Safety data are collected at each visit. The coprimary endpoints include a comparison of the proportion of patients achieving low disease activity in the T2T and UC groups and assessment of the feasibility of implementing T2T in rheumatology practices, specifically assessment of the rates of treatment acceleration, frequency of visits, time to next visit conditional on disease activity, and probability of acceleration conditional on disease activity in the 2 groups.
Discussion
This cluster-randomized behavioral intervention study will provide valuable insights on the outcomes and feasibility of employing a T2T treatment approach in clinical practice in the United States.
Trial registration
NCT01407419
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-389
PMCID: PMC4258022  PMID: 25416400
Treat to target; Rheumatoid arthritis; Corrona; Usual care
2.  Improvements in health-related quality of life after treatment with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis refractory to tumour necrosis factor inhibitors: results from the 24-week randomized controlled RADIATE study 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2012;51(10):1860-1869.
Objective. To investigate the effect of tocilizumab on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in RA patients with inadequate responses to TNF inhibitors (TNFis).
Methods. In a Phase III randomized controlled trial, 489 patients received 4 or 8 mg/kg tocilizumab or placebo every 4 weeks plus MTX for 24 weeks. Mean changes from baseline over time and proportions of patients reporting improvements greater than or equal to minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) in PROs were analyzed.
Results. At week 24, 8 mg/kg resulted in significantly greater improvements vs placebo in pain, global assessment of disease activity (P = 0.001), Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index (HAQ-DI; P < 0.0001), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (P = 0.0150) and Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36 v2) Physical Component Summary (PCS; P = 0.0003) scores, all greater than MCID; 4 mg/kg resulted in greater improvements in pain (P = 0.0100), HAQ-DI (P = 0.0030) and SF-36 PCS (P = 0.0020) scores. Tocilizumab-associated improvements were evident as early as week 2. At week 24, more tocilizumab-treated than control patients reported improvements greater than or equal to MCID in SF-36 domain scores and related PROs (50.9–84.9% vs 35.0–51.7%) and achieved ACR50 responses and/or Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28) remission with PRO improvements greater than or equal to MCID (36.2–51.2% vs 10–20.7% and 10.7–37.5% vs 0.0–3.4%, respectively).
Conclusion. Tocilizumab treatment in patients with inadequate responses to TNFis resulted in rapid and sustained improvements in multiple PROs that were statistically significant and clinically meaningful, consistent with previous efficacy reports.
Trial Registration. ClinicalTrials.gov, http://clinicaltrials.gov/, NCT00106522.
doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kes131
PMCID: PMC3448882  PMID: 22753773
rheumatoid arthritis; tocilizumab; health-related quality of life; patient-reported outcomes; randomized controlled trial
3.  The effects of tocilizumab on osteitis, synovitis and erosion progression in rheumatoid arthritis: results from the ACT-RAY MRI substudy 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2014;73(5):810-816.
Objective
To examine the imaging-detected mechanism of reduction of structural joint damage progression by tocilizumab (TCZ) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using MRI.
Methods
In a substudy of a randomised, double-blind, phase 3b study (ACT-RAY) of biologic-naïve patients with RA who were methotrexate (MTX)-inadequate responders, 63 patients were randomised to continue MTX or receive placebo (PBO), both in combination with TCZ 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks, with optional additional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs at week 24 if Disease Activity Score of 28 joints < 3.2. The most symptomatic hand was imaged with 0.2 Tesla extremity MRI at weeks 0, 2, 12 and 52. MR images were scored using Outcome Measures in Rheumatology–Rheumatoid Arthritis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score. Predictors of week 52 erosion progression were determined by logistic regression analysis.
Results
TCZ + PBO (n=32) demonstrated mean improvements in synovitis from baseline to weeks 2 (−0.92; p=0.0011), 12 (−1.86; p<0.0001) and 52 (−3.35; p<0.0001), while TCZ + MTX (n=31) had mean improvements in synovitis at week 12 (−0.88; p=0.0074), but not week 52 (−1.00; p=0.0711). TCZ+PBO demonstrated mean reductions in osteitis at weeks 12 (−5.10; p=0.0022) and 52 (−8.56; p=0.0006), while TCZ+MTX had mean reductions at weeks 2 (−0.21; p<0.05) and 12 (−3.63; p=0.0008), but not week 52 (−2.31; p=0.9749). Mean erosion scores did not worsen in either group. MRI erosion scores at weeks 12 and 52 correlated strongly with radiography erosion scores at week 52 (r>0.80). Baseline synovitis and worsening of osteitis predicted erosion progression.
Conclusions
Rapid suppression of synovitis and osteitis with reduction in structural joint damage progression occurred with TCZ, as monotherapy or in combination with MTX, through week 52.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204762
PMCID: PMC3995246  PMID: 24525910
Rheumatoid Arthritis; DMARDs (biologic); Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Disease Activity; Synovitis

Results 1-3 (3)