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2.  A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Recombinant Human Relaxin in the Treatment of Systemic Sclerosis with Diffuse Scleroderma 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(4):1102-1111.
Background/Purpose
A phase II randomized controlled trial of recombinant human relaxin suggested that 25 ug/kg/day was safe and clinically effective in improving skin disease and functional disability in scleroderma. We report the results of a large randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial comparing placebo with recombinant human relaxin, 10 ug/kg of body weight per day and 25 ug/kg per day, given for 24 weeks in patients with stable, diffuse, moderate to severe scleroderma (SSc).
Methods
Men and women 18 to 70 years of age with diffuse SSc, disease duration ≤ 5 years since the onset of the first non-Raynaud sign or symptom, a baseline modified Rodnan skin score (MRSS) of 20 or greater, or at least 16 if truncal involvement was present. Recombinant human relaxin (10 or 25 ug/kg/day), or placebo was administered for 24 weeks as a continuous subcutaneous infusion and there was a follow-up safety visit at week 28.
Results
The primary outcome measure, the MRSS, was similar between the 3 groups at baseline and at weeks 4, 12, and 24 (P=NS). Secondary outcomes such as functional disability were similar in all 3 groups and the forced vital capacity significantly decreased in the relaxin groups (p< 0.04). The discontinuation of relaxin (both doses) at week 24 led to statistically significant declines in creatinine clearance and serious renal adverse events (defined as either doubling of baseline serum creatinine, renal crisis, or grade 3 or 4 hypertension) in 7 patients who had received relaxin therapy but in none who had received placebo (p=0.04).
Conclusion
Recombinant relaxin was not significantly better than placebo in improving total skin score, pulmonary function, or functional disability in patients with diffuse SSc. In addition, relaxin was associated with serious renal adverse events, the majority of which occurred after stopping the infusion. If relaxin is used therapeutically for any conditions other than scleroderma, close monitoring of blood pressure and renal function must be performed.
doi:10.1002/art.24380
PMCID: PMC3711466  PMID: 19333948
3.  Predicting low disease activity and remission using early treatment response to anti-TNF therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Exploratory analyses from the TEMPO trial 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2011;71(2):206-212.
Objective
To derive and validate decision trees to categorize rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients 12 weeks after starting etanercept with or without methotrexate into three groups: patients predicted to achieve low disease activity (LDA) at 1 year; patients predicted to not achieve LDA at 1 year; and patients who needed additional time on therapy to be categorized.
Methods
Data from RA patients enrolled in TEMPO were analyzed. Classification and Regression Trees were used to develop and validate decision-tree models with week 12 and earlier assessments that predicted long-term LDA. LDA, defined as DAS28 ≤ 3.2 or Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) ≤ 10.0, was measured at 52 or 48 weeks. Demographics, laboratory data, and clinical data at baseline and through week 12 were analyzed as predictors of response.
Results
Thirty-nine percent (67/172) of patients receiving etanercept and 60% (115/193) of patients receiving etanercept plus methotrexate achieved LDA at week 52. For patients receiving etanercept, 53% were predicted to have LDA, 39% were predicted to not have LDA, and 8% could not be categorized using DAS28 criteria at week 12. For patients receiving etanercept plus methotrexate, 63% were predicted to have LDA, 25% were predicted to not have LDA, and 12% could not be categorized.
Conclusion
Most (80%–90%) patients in TEMPO initiating etanercept with or without methotrexate could be predicted within 12 weeks of starting therapy as likely to have LDA or not at week 52. However, approximately 10%–20% of patients needed additional time on therapy to decide whether to continue treatment.
doi:10.1136/ard.2011.153551
PMCID: PMC3698970  PMID: 21998118
etanercept; methotrexate; arthritis; rheumatoid; decision tree; prediction
4.  Predicting Future Response to Certolizumab Pegol in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: Features at 12 Weeks Associated With Low Disease Activity at 1 Year 
Arthritis care & research  2012;64(5):658-667.
Objectives
To determine the prognostic significance of data collected early after starting certolizumab pegol (CZP) to predict low disease activity (LDA) at Week 52.
Methods
Data through Week 12 from 703 CZP-treated patients in the RA PreventIon of structural Damage (RAPID 1) trial were used as variables to predict LDA (DAS28 [ESR] ≤3.2) at Week 52. We identified variables, developed prediction models using classification trees, and tested performance using training and testing datasets. Additional prediction models were constructed using CDAI and an alternate outcome definition (composite of LDA or ACR50).
Results
Using Week 6 and 12 data and across several different prediction models, response (LDA) and nonresponse at 1 year was predicted with relatively high accuracy (70–90%) for most patients. The best performing model predicting nonresponse by 12 weeks was 90% accurate and applied to 46% of the population. Model accuracy for predicted responders (30% of the RAPID1 population) was 74%. The area under the receiver operator curve was 0.76. Depending on the desired certainty of prediction at 12 weeks, ~12–24% of patients required >12 weeks of treatment to be accurately classified. CDAI-based models, and those evaluating the composite outcome (LDA or ACR50), achieved comparable accuracy.
Conclusion
We could accurately predict within 12 weeks of starting CZP whether most established RA patients with high baseline disease activity would likely achieve/not achieve LDA at 1 year. Decision trees may be useful to guide prospective management for RA patients treated with CZP and other biologics.
doi:10.1002/acr.21600
PMCID: PMC3330194  PMID: 22231904
5.  Biologic Modulators in Allergic and Autoinflammatory Diseases 
Purpose of review
The advent of molecular techniques has resulted in the ability to tailor medications to specific protein targets. This review will emphasize several biological therapies, specifically directed toward cytokine receptors and inhibitors, and their role in the treatment of atopic and autoinflammatory diseases.
Recent findings
Translational research and the identification of the molecular pathophysiology of diseases have led to more targeted treatment approaches. The biologic modulators, encompassing monoclonal antibodies as cytokine inhibitors, receptor blocking antibodies and new fusion receptors are now being applied to diseases beyond their original application.
Summary
The expanded use of biological therapies has experienced success in the treatment of numerous disorders, especially in subsets of patients with disease that has been refractory to conventional therapies.
doi:10.1097/ACI.0b013e328348a882
PMCID: PMC3154953  PMID: 21659854
monoclonal antibodies; biologics; autoinflammatory; allergy
6.  Minimally important differences of the gout impact scale in a randomized controlled trial 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2011;50(7):1331-1336.
Objective. The Gout Impact Scale (GIS) is a gout-specific quality of life instrument that assesses impact of gout during an attack and impact of overall gout. The GIS has five scales and each is scored from 0 to 100 (worse health). Our objective was to assess minimally important differences (MIDs) for the GIS administered in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) assessing rilonacept vs placebo for prevention of gout flares during initiation of allopurinol therapy.
Methods. Trial subjects ( n = 83) included those with two or more gout flares (self-reported) in the past year. Of these, 73 had data for Weeks 8 vs 4 and formed the MID analysis group and were analysed irrespective of the treatment assignment. Subjects completed the GIS and seven patient-reported anchors. Subjects with a one-step change (e.g. from very poor to poor) were considered as the MID group for each anchor. The mean change in GIS scores and effect size (ES) was calculated for each anchor’s MID group. The average of these created the overall summary MID statistics for each GIS. An ES of 0.2–0.5 was considered to represent MID estimates.
Results. Trial subjects (n = 73) were males (96.0%), White (90.4%), with mean age of 50.5 years and serum uric acid of 9.0 mg/dl. The mean change score for the MID improvement group for scales ranged from −5.24 to −7.61 (0–100 scale). The ES for the MID improvement group for the four scales ranged from 0.22 to 0.38.
Conclusion. The MID estimates for GIS scales are between 5 and 8 points (0–100 scale). This information can aid in interpreting the GIS results in future gout RCTs.
Trial Registration. Clinicaltrials.gov, www.clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00610363.
doi:10.1093/rheumatology/ker023
PMCID: PMC3307519  PMID: 21372003
Gout assessment questionnaire; Gout impact scale; Minimally important difference; Minimal clinically important differences; Rilonacept; Clinical trial design; Health-related quality of life; Health status
7.  A Delphi Consensus Approach to Challenging Case Scenarios in Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis: Part 2 
Introduction
Clinicians may be confronted with difficult-to-treat psoriasis cases for which there are scant data to rely upon for guidance. To assist in managing such patients, who are typically excluded from clinical trials, a consensus panel of 14 experts in the field of psoriasis was formed to conduct a Delphi method exercise.
Methods
The exercise consisted of both survey questionnaires and a live meeting to review and discuss current data (as of 2009, when the exercise was conducted) and arrive at a consensus for optimal treatment options. Seventy difficult treatment scenarios were identified, and the top 24 were selected for discussion at the live meeting.
Results
Five of the 24 discussed case scenarios are presented in this article: (1) moderate-to-severe psoriasis that has failed to respond to all currently approved therapies for psoriasis; (2) palmoplantar psoriasis that is unresponsive to topical therapy and phototherapy; (3) erythrodermic psoriasis; (4) pustular psoriasis; and (5) the preferred therapeutic choice to combine with low-dose methotrexate. A previous article (part 1) presented six other scenarios.
Conclusion
The Delphi exercise resulted in guidelines for practicing physicians to utilize when confronted with patients with challenging cases of psoriasis.
doi:10.1007/s13555-012-0002-x
PMCID: PMC3510406  PMID: 23205325
Acitretin; Biologics; Erythrodermic psoriasis; Palmoplantar psoriasis; Psoriasis; Pustular psoriasis; Methotrexate; TNF-α inhibitor
8.  A Delphi Consensus Approach to Challenging Case Scenarios in Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis: Part 2 
Dermatology and Therapy  2012;2(1):2.
Introduction
Clinicians may be confronted with difficult-to-treat psoriasis cases for which there are scant data to rely upon for guidance. To assist in managing such patients, who are typically excluded from clinical trials, a consensus panel of 14 experts in the field of psoriasis was formed to conduct a Delphi method exercise.
Methods
The exercise consisted of both survey questionnaires and a live meeting to review and discuss current data (as of 2009, when the exercise was conducted) and arrive at a consensus for optimal treatment options. Seventy difficult treatment scenarios were identified, and the top 24 were selected for discussion at the live meeting.
Results
Five of the 24 discussed case scenarios are presented in this article: (1) moderate-to-severe psoriasis that has failed to respond to all currently approved therapies for psoriasis; (2) palmoplantar psoriasis that is unresponsive to topical therapy and phototherapy; (3) erythrodermic psoriasis; (4) pustular psoriasis; and (5) the preferred therapeutic choice to combine with low-dose methotrexate. A previous article (part 1) presented six other scenarios.
Conclusion
The Delphi exercise resulted in guidelines for practicing physicians to utilize when confronted with patients with challenging cases of psoriasis.
doi:10.1007/s13555-012-0002-x
PMCID: PMC3510406  PMID: 23205325
Acitretin; Biologics; Erythrodermic psoriasis; Palmoplantar psoriasis; Psoriasis; Pustular psoriasis; Methotrexate; TNF-α inhibitor
9.  A Delphi Consensus Approach to Challenging Case Scenarios in Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis: Part 1 
Introduction
Traditional clinical trials in psoriasis exclude a significant proportion of patients with complex disease and comorbidities. A consensus panel of 14 experts in the field of psoriasis was formed to conduct a Delphi method exercise to identify difficult-to-treat psoriasis clinical scenarios and to rank treatment approaches.
Methods
The exercise consisted of both survey questionnaires and a live meeting to review and discuss current data (as of 2009, when the exercise was conducted) and arrive at a consensus for optimal treatment options. Seventy difficult treatment scenarios were identified, and the top 24 were selected for discussion at the live meeting.
Results
Six of the 24 discussed case scenarios are presented in this article (another five are presented in Part 2): (1) psoriasis with human papilloma virus-induced cervical or anogenital dysplasia; (2) concomitant psoriasis and systemic lupus erythematosus; (3) severe psoriatic nail disease causing functional or emotional impairment; (4) psoriasis therapies that potentially reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; (5) older patients (≥65 years of age) with psoriasis; and (6) severe scalp psoriasis that is unresponsive to topical therapy.
Conclusion
The Delphi exercise resulted in guidelines for practicing physicians to utilize when confronted with challenging patients with psoriasis.
doi:10.1007/s13555-012-0001-y
PMCID: PMC3510391  PMID: 23205324
Acitretin; Biologics; Methotrexate; Psoriasis; Psoriatic nail disease; Severe scalp psoriasis; TNF-α inhibitor
10.  A Delphi Consensus Approach to Challenging Case Scenarios in Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis: Part 1 
Dermatology and Therapy  2012;2(1):1.
Introduction
Traditional clinical trials in psoriasis exclude a significant proportion of patients with complex disease and comorbidities. A consensus panel of 14 experts in the field of psoriasis was formed to conduct a Delphi method exercise to identify difficult-to-treat psoriasis clinical scenarios and to rank treatment approaches.
Methods
The exercise consisted of both survey questionnaires and a live meeting to review and discuss current data (as of 2009, when the exercise was conducted) and arrive at a consensus for optimal treatment options. Seventy difficult treatment scenarios were identified, and the top 24 were selected for discussion at the live meeting.
Results
Six of the 24 discussed case scenarios are presented in this article (another five are presented in Part 2): (1) psoriasis with human papilloma virus-induced cervical or anogenital dysplasia; (2) concomitant psoriasis and systemic lupus erythematosus; (3) severe psoriatic nail disease causing functional or emotional impairment; (4) psoriasis therapies that potentially reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; (5) older patients (≥65 years of age) with psoriasis; and (6) severe scalp psoriasis that is unresponsive to topical therapy.
Conclusion
The Delphi exercise resulted in guidelines for practicing physicians to utilize when confronted with challenging patients with psoriasis.
doi:10.1007/s13555-012-0001-y
PMCID: PMC3510391  PMID: 23205324
Acitretin; Biologics; Methotrexate; Psoriasis; Psoriatic nail disease; Severe scalp psoriasis; TNF-α inhibitor
11.  The 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(9):2582-2591.
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.
doi:10.1002/art.27580
PMCID: PMC3077961  PMID: 20872596
12.  Gout disease-specific quality of life and the association with gout characteristics 
Purpose
Assess the association of gout characteristics with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using a new gout-specific HRQoL instrument, the Gout Impact Scale (GIS).
Patients and methods
Gout patients completed the GIS (five scales [0–100 score each] representing impact of gout overall [three scales] and during an attack [two scales]) and other questions describing recent gout attacks, treatment, gout history, comorbidities, and demographics. Physicians confirmed gout diagnosis, presence of tophi, and most recent serum uric acid (sUA) level. Relationships between gout characteristics and GIS scores were examined using analysis of variance and correlation analyses.
Results
The majority of patients were male (90.2%) with a mean age of 62.2 (±11.8) years. Approximately one-half (49.7%) reported ≥3 gout attacks in the past year and the majority (57.9%) reported experiencing gout-related pain between attacks. Patients had appreciable concern about their gout (“gout concern overall” scale, 63.1 ± 28.0) but believed their treatment was adequate (“unmet gout treatment need” scale (38.2 ± 21.4) below scale mid-point). Significantly worse GIS scores were associated with increasing attack frequency and greater amount of time with pain between attacks (most scales, P < 0.001). Common objective measures such as sUA level, presence of tophi and the number of joints involved in a typical attack did not appear to be good indicators of the impact of gout on the patients' HRQoL.
Conclusion
Attack frequency and gout pain between attacks were important correlates of patients' ratings of gout impact on their HRQoL. Further studies are needed to determine the minimal important difference for each GIS scale and interpret our results relative to other patient populations with gout.
doi:10.2147/PROM.S8310
PMCID: PMC3113652  PMID: 21686040
Gout impact scale; GIS; patient-reported outcomes
13.  Adalimumab reduces hand bone loss in rheumatoid arthritis independent of clinical response: Subanalysis of the PREMIER study 
Background
Anti-TNF therapy has been shown to reduce radiographic joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) independent of clinical response. This has previously not been examined for periarticular bone loss, the other characteristic feature of bone involvement in RA.
The objective of this study was to examine if treatment with the TNF-α inhibitor adalimumab also could reduce periarticular bone loss in RA patients independent of disease activity.
Methods
RA patients were recruited from the PREMIER study and included 214 patients treated with methotrexate (MTX) plus adalimumab and 188 patients treated with MTX monotherapy. Periarticular bone loss was assessed by digital X-ray radiogrammetry metacarpal cortical index (DXR-MCI). Change in DXR-MCI was evaluated in patients with different levels of clinical response, as assessed by changes in DAS28 score at 52 weeks and in mean C-reactive protein (CRP) levels during follow-up.
Results
In the MTX group, there was a greater median DXR-MCI loss among patients with moderate and high disease activity compared to those in remission or with low disease activity (-3.3% vs. -2.2%, p = 0.01). In contrast, periarticular bone loss was independent of disease activity (-1.9% vs. -2.4%, p = 0.99) in the combination group. In the MTX group patients with a mean CRP of ≥ 10 mg/l lost significantly more DXR-MCI than patients with low CRP (-3.1% vs. -1.9%, p <0.01) whereas in the combination group no significant differences between the two CRP groups was seen (-2.4% vs. -2.0%, p = 0.48).
Conclusion
Adalimumab in combination with MTX reduces periarticular bone loss independently of clinical response. These results support the hypothesis that TNF-α stimulates the osteoclast not only by the inflammatory pathway but do also have a direct effect on the osteoclast.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials (NCT): NCT001195663
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-54
PMCID: PMC3053306  PMID: 21352592
14.  Elevated Liver Enzyme Tests Among Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis Patients treated with Methotrexate and/or Leflunomide 
Introduction
Potential hepatotoxicity associated with disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs [DMARDs] requires laboratory monitoring. In rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis [RA, PsA] patients, we examined the incidence of elevated alanine/aspartate aminotransferase (ALT/AST) enzymes associated with methotrexate (MTX), leflunomide (LEF), and MTX+LEF vs. other DMARDs.
Methods
RA and PsA patients enrolled in the Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America (CORRONA) initiating DMARDs were identified. Abnormalities were identified when either was 1 or 2-fold time above the upper limits of normal (ULN). Odds ratios [OR] between MTX/LEF dose and elevated ALT/AST enzymes were estimated using generalized estimating equations. Interaction terms for use of MTX+LEF quantified the incremental risk of the combination compared to each individually.
Results
Elevated ALT/AST levels (>1× ULN) occurred in 22, 17, 31, and 14% RA patients receiving MTX, LEF, MTX+LEF, or neither, respectively; elevations were 2.76 fold (95% CI 1.84 – 4.15) more likely in PsA patients. Elevations > 2× ULN occurred in 1–2% of patients on MTX or LEF monotherapy compared to 5% with the combination. After multivariable adjustment and compared with either monotherapy, combination MTX + LEF was associated with greater risk according to MTX dose used as part of the combination: MTX 10–17.5mg/week, OR=2.91 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–6.90) and MTX ≥20 mg/week, OR=3.98 (95% CI: 1.72–9.24).
Conclusions
14–35% of RA and PsA patients initiating DMARD therapy developed abnormal ALT/AST levels. Risks were incrementally greater in those with PsA and in those receiving MTX (≥ 10mg/day) + LEF. These findings should help inform monitoring for potential hepatotoxicity in these patient populations.
doi:10.1136/ard.2008.101378
PMCID: PMC2794929  PMID: 19147616
rheumatoid arthritis; psoriatic arthritis; methotrexate; leflunomide; liver function tests; hepatotoxicity
15.  Perceptions of disease and health-related quality of life among patients with gout 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2009;48(5):582-586.
Objective. To assess the impact of gout on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among patients in three large US cities.
Methods. Gout patients completed the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and a series of questions regarding their gout, comorbidities and demographics. Their physicians confirmed the gout diagnosis and evaluated the severity of patient's gout. The differences in mean norm-based SF-36 scores between the US norms and gout patients and between subgroups of gout patients were calculated. The relative weight and significance of gout-related characteristics associated with patients’ HRQoL were also calculated.
Results. The majority of the patients were males with a mean age of 62.2 years and median disease duration of 13.8 years. Most were overweight/obese with several comorbidities. Half of the patients experienced three or more gout attacks per year with a typical gout attack involving five joints and lasting for at least 4 days. The Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) was significantly lower for gout patients (P < 0.002 and P < 0.001, respectively). Among gout patients, the mean PCS and MCS were lower for those with more frequent gout attacks and greater number of affected joints (P < 0.005 and P < 0.001, respectively). After adjusting for age, gender and comorbidities, the number of joints involved during a typical and the worst gout attack had the greatest impact on patient's PCS and MCS.
Conclusion. Gout patients had clinically significant lower HRQoL than their age-matched US norm. Comorbidities and several additional gout-related factors significantly impacted the overall HRQoL.
doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kep047
PMCID: PMC2722803  PMID: 19307257
Gout; Health-related quality of life; SF-36; Outcomes
16.  Gout disease-specific quality of life and the association with gout characteristics 
Purpose:
Assess the association of gout characteristics with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using a new gout-specific HRQoL instrument, the Gout Impact Scale (GIS).
Patients and methods:
Gout patients completed the GIS (five scales [0–100 score each] representing impact of gout overall [three scales] and during an attack [two scales]) and other questions describing recent gout attacks, treatment, gout history, comorbidities, and demographics. Physicians confirmed gout diagnosis, presence of tophi, and most recent serum uric acid (sUA) level. Relationships between gout characteristics and GIS scores were examined using analysis of variance and correlation analyses.
Results:
The majority of patients were male (90.2%) with a mean age of 62.2 (±11.8) years. Approximately one-half (49.7%) reported ≥3 gout attacks in the past year and the majority (57.9%) reported experiencing gout-related pain between attacks. Patients had appreciable concern about their gout (“gout concern overall” scale, 63.1 ± 28.0) but believed their treatment was adequate (“unmet gout treatment need” scale (38.2 ± 21.4) below scale mid-point). Significantly worse GIS scores were associated with increasing attack frequency and greater amount of time with pain between attacks (most scales, P < 0.001). Common objective measures such as sUA level, presence of tophi and the number of joints involved in a typical attack did not appear to be good indicators of the impact of gout on the patients’ HRQoL.
Conclusion:
Attack frequency and gout pain between attacks were important correlates of patients’ ratings of gout impact on their HRQoL. Further studies are needed to determine the minimal important difference for each GIS scale and interpret our results relative to other patient populations with gout.
PMCID: PMC3113652  PMID: 21686040
Gout impact scale; GIS; patient-reported outcomes
17.  Rapid and sustained improvements in health-related quality of life, fatigue, and other patient-reported outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with certolizumab pegol plus methotrexate over 1 year: results from the RAPID 1 randomized controlled trial 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R170.
Introduction
The objective of this study was to assess the impact of certolizumab pegol (CZP) treatment on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), fatigue and other patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
Patients with active RA (N = 982) were randomized 2:2:1 to subcutaneous CZP (400 mg at weeks 0, 2 and 4; followed by CZP 200 mg or 400 mg) plus methotrexate (MTX) every other week, or placebo (PBO) plus MTX. PRO assessments included HRQoL, fatigue, physical function, arthritis pain and disease activity. Adjusted mean changes from baseline in all PROs were obtained using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) applying last observation carried forward (LOCF) imputation. The proportion of patients achieving clinically meaningful improvements in each PRO was obtained using logistic regression and by applying non-responder imputation to missing values after rescue medication or withdrawal. The correlations between PRO responses and clinical responses were also assessed by tetrachoric correlation using non-responder imputation.
Results
Patients treated with CZP plus MTX reported significant (P < 0.001), clinically meaningful improvements in HRQoL at the first assessment (week 12); reductions in fatigue, disease activity and pain and improvements in physical function were reported at week 1. In particular, CZP-treated patients reported improvements in mental health. Mean changes from baseline in the SF-36 Mental Component Summary (MCS) at week 52 for CZP 200 mg and 400 mg plus MTX, and PBO plus MTX were 6.4, 6.4 and 2.1, respectively (P < 0.001). In addition, mental health and vitality scores in CZP-treated patients approached age- and gender-adjusted US population norms. Improvements in all PROs were sustained. Similar benefits were reported with both CZP doses. Changes in SF-36 MCS scores had the lowest correlation with disease activity scores (DAS28) and American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement (ACR20) response rates, while improvements in pain showed the highest correlation.
Conclusions
Treatment with CZP plus MTX resulted in rapid and sustained improvements in all PROs, indicating that the benefits of CZP extend beyond clinical efficacy endpoints into areas that are more relevant and meaningful for patients on a daily basis.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00152386.
doi:10.1186/ar2859
PMCID: PMC3003523  PMID: 19909548
18.  Interleukin-6 inhibitors in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis 
Recent developments in understanding the immunopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), combined with progress in biopharmaceutical development, have facilitated the introduction of novel immune modulating therapies for this progressive debilitating disorder. Efficacy achieved with certain agents, particularly the TNF inhibitors, has spurred the development of additional biologic agents targeting other components of the dysregulated immune response relevant to the etiology and sustenance of immune driven systemic inflammation characteristic of RA. Among these other potential targets is IL-6, a cytokine with effects on numerous cell types, including those involved in the pathogenesis of RA. Based on its activities, IL-6 appeared to be a viable target for autoimmune disease. Inhibitors of IL-6 were successful in animal models of autoimmune disease paving the way for subsequent studies in humans. The greatest experience to date has been with tocilizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for the IL-6 receptor (IL-6R). Beginning with open label studies, and progressing through larger and more rigorous controlled trials, tocilizumab has been shown to have significant Efficacy in patients with RA. Additional studies analyzing its effects in varied populations of RA patients, as well as greater detail concerning its longer-term tolerability and safety, will help define the ultimate role of tocilizumab and other future inhibitors of IL-6 activity as potential therapies for RA.
PMCID: PMC2621374  PMID: 19209259
rheumatoid arthritis; IL-6; tocilizumab; biologic agents
19.  Elevated autoantibody content in rheumatoid arthritis synovia with lymphoid aggregates and the effect of rituximab 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R105.
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the contribution of synovial lymphoid aggregates to autoantibody (rheumatoid factor [RF] and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide [anti-CCP]) and total immunoglobulin (IgG and IgM) production in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and the effect thereon of the B-cell-depleting antibody, rituximab, in the ARISE (Assessment of Rituximab's Immunomodulatory Synovial Effects) trial.
Methods
Autoantibodies as well as total IgM and IgG were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in extracts of synovial tissues and matched serum from patients with RA or osteoarthritis (OA). Synovial biopsies and serum were obtained at baseline and 8 weeks following rituximab therapy in 14 RA patients. A synovial/serum index (SSI) was calculated as the ratio of synovial to serum antibody/albumin, with values above 1 representing synovial enrichment. Lymphoid aggregates were evaluated histologically.
Results
Anti-CCP IgG, but not RF-IgM, was significantly enriched in RA synovia compared with serum. Total IgM and IgG were also enriched in RA, but not in OA. SSI correlated significantly with mRNA content for both IgM and IgG, demonstrating that it reflected synovial immunoglobulin production. RA synovia with lymphocyte aggregates contained significantly elevated RF-IgM and anti-CCP IgG compared with tissues with diffuse lymphoid infiltration. Rituximab treatment did not affect synovial autoantibody or total immunoglobulin SSI overall. However, in aggregate-containing tissues, rituximab significantly reduced total IgM and IgG SSI as well as IgM and IgG1 mRNA. Surprisingly, RF-IgM and anti-CCP IgG SSIs were unchanged by rituximab in aggregate-containing synovia.
Conclusions
Combined with earlier observations that synovial lymphoid aggregates are unaltered by rituximab treatment, these data suggest that lymphoid aggregates may provide a protective niche for autoantibody-producing cells.
Trial Registration
The ARISE trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov as number NCT00147966.
doi:10.1186/ar2497
PMCID: PMC2592782  PMID: 18761748
20.  Adalimumab in ankylosing spondylitis: an evidence-based review of its place in therapy 
Core Evidence  2008;2(4):295-305.
Introduction:
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an idiopathic chronic inflammatory disease that has prominent effects on the spine and peripheral joints. In addition, extraarticular manifestations such as enthesitis and acute anterior uveitis may be clinically important. In recent years, the therapy of AS has changed, largely due to the introduction of inhibitors of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Adalimumab, a human monoclonal antibody specifically for TNF, is the most recent of the TNF blocking agents that have been approved for the treatment of active, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID)-refractory patients with AS.
Aims:
To evaluate the evidence for the therapeutic value of adalimumab in ankylosing spondylitis.
Evidence review:
There is clear evidence that adalimumab, administered 40 mg subcutaneously every 2 weeks, substantially improves the signs and symptoms of NSAID-refractory, active AS when compared with placebo treatment. There is ample evidence that adalimumab causes significant improvements in physical health status and overall AS-specific, health-related quality of life and physical functioning, which consequently leads to better work productivity. There is substantial evidence that adalimumab improves spinal and sacroiliac joint inflammation in AS patients. Initial results from clinical trials suggest that there is no increased risk of serious infections or malignancies in adalimumab-treated patients with AS. The most common adverse events were injection-site reactions. Limited economic evidence suggests that adalimumab 40 mg may be cost effective when used according to current valid treatment guidelines.
Place in therapy:
Adalimumab is an effective treatment for patients with active AS.
PMCID: PMC3012440  PMID: 21221193
adalimumab; ankylosing spondylitis; TNF inhibitor; evidence; treatment
21.  The impact of infliximab treatment on quality of life in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases 
In this study, we compare the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and study the effect of treatment with infliximab on the HRQoL of patients with these diseases. Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36) data from the placebo-controlled phases of 4 studies of infliximab in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases (n = 1990) were evaluated. Data came from the Anti-TNF Trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis with Concomitant Therapy (ATTRACT) (n = 428), the Safety Trial for Rheumatoid Arthritis with REMICADE Therapy (START) (n = 1083), the Ankylosing Spondylitis Study for the Evaluation of Recombinant Infliximab Therapy (ASSERT) (n = 279), and the Infliximab Multinational Psoriatic Arthritis Clinical Trial II (IMPACT II) (n = 200). SF-36 assessments were made at weeks 0, 10, 30, and 54 in ATTRACT, weeks 0, 6, and 22 in START, weeks 0, 12, and 24 in ASSERT, and weeks 0 and 14 in IMPACT II. All patient populations had significantly impaired physical aspects of HRQoL at baseline relative to the general population of the United States, and the magnitude of impairment was similar across the diseases. Mean baseline physical component summary scores were 29 in the RA cohort, 32 in the PsA cohort, and 29 in the AS cohort. In all 3 diseases, patients who received infliximab showed significant improvement in physical component summary scores compared with those who received placebo. The magnitude of the difference of improvement (effect size, 95%CI) between infliximab and placebo groups was similar in the AS (10.1, 9.2–11.0), PsA (8.6, 7.8–9.4), and RA (10.1, 9.2–11.0) cohorts. Patients with RA and those with PsA treated with infliximab also showed greater improvement in the mental component summary score than those in the placebo group with an effect size of 4.6 (4.2–5.1) in RA and 2.7 (2.4–3.1) in PsA. Patients in large randomized controlled studies of infliximab in RA, PsA, and AS had similar impairment in physical aspects of HRQoL at baseline and showed significantly greater improvement in HRQoL after treatment with infliximab.
doi:10.1186/ar2306
PMCID: PMC2212571  PMID: 17922913
22.  Psoriatic arthritis: Pathogenesis and novel immunomodulatory approaches to treatment 
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory arthropathy characterized by the association of arthritis and psoriasis. PsA runs a variable course, from mild synovitis to severe, progressive, erosive arthropathy. The pathogenesis of PsA involves alteration in the components of the immune response, although the exact cause of PsA is unknown. A number of patients with severe peripheral arthritis fail to respond to standard conventional therapy. Advances in biotechnology and in our understanding of the immunopathogenesis of PsA have led to great interest and progress in regards to biologic treatments for PsA. Notable success achieved with recently introduced biologic therapies has paved the way for further research and develpoment of additional therapies that should improve outcomes for affected patients.
doi:10.1186/1476-8518-3-6
PMCID: PMC1208938  PMID: 16138929
23.  Quantitative biomarker analysis of synovial gene expression by real-time PCR 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2003;5(6):R352-R360.
Synovial biomarker analysis in rheumatoid arthritis can be used to evaluate drug effect in clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents. Previous studies of synovial gene expression for these studies have mainly relied on histological methods including immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. To increase the reliability of mRNA measurements on small synovial tissue samples, we developed and validated real time quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) methods on biopsy specimens. RNA was isolated from synovial tissue and cDNA was prepared. Cell-based standards were prepared from mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Real time PCR was performed using TaqMan chemistry to quantify gene expression relative to the cell-based standard. Application of the cellular standard curve method markedly reduced intra- and inter-assay variability and corrected amplification efficiency errors compared with the C(t) method. The inter-assay coefficient of variation was less than 25% over time. Q-PCR methods were validated by demonstrating increased expression of IL-1β and IL-6 expression in rheumatoid arthritis synovial samples compared with osteoarthritis synovium. Based on determinations of sampling error and coefficient of variation, twofold differences in gene expression in serial biopsies can be detected by assaying approximately six synovial tissue biopsies from 8 to 10 patients. These data indicate that Q-PCR is a reliable method for determining relative gene expression in small synovial tissue specimens. The technique can potentially be used in serial biopsy studies to provide insights into mechanism of action and therapeutic effect of new anti-inflammatory agents.
doi:10.1186/ar1004
PMCID: PMC333415  PMID: 14680510
arthritis; biomarker; rheumatoid; synovium
24.  Markers of inflammation and bone remodelling associated with improvement in clinical response measures in psoriatic arthritis patients treated with golimumab 
Objective
To determine serum biomarker associations with clinical response to golimumab treatment in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
Methods
GO–REVEAL was a randomised, placebo-controlled study of golimumab in patients with active PsA. Samples were collected from 100 patients at baseline, week 4 and week 14, and analysed for serum-based biomarkers and protein profiling (total 92 markers); data were correlated with clinical measures at week 14.
Results
Serum levels of a subset of proteins (apolipoprotein C III, ENRAGE, IL-16, myeloperoxidase, vascular endothelial growth factor, pyridinoline, matrix metalloproteinase 3, C-reactive protein (CRP), carcinoembryonic antigen, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and macrophage inflammatory protein 1α) at baseline or week 4 were strongly associated with American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement (ACR20) response and/or disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28) at week 14. A smaller subset of proteins was significantly associated with a 75% improvement in the psoriasis area and severity index score (PASI75) at week 14, (adiponectin, apolipoprotein CIII, serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, and tumour necrosis factor α). Subsets of proteins were identified as potentially predictive of clinical response for each of the clinical measures, and the power of these biomarker panels to predict clinical response to golimumab treatment was stronger than for CRP alone.
Conclusions
This analysis provides insight into several panels of markers that may have utility in identifying PsA patients likely to have ACR20, DAS28, or PASI75 responses following golimumab treatment.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201697
PMCID: PMC3551220  PMID: 22975755
Psoriatic Arthritis; Anti-TNF; TNF-alpha
25.  Clinical, functional and radiographic consequences of achieving stable low disease activity and remission with adalimumab plus methotrexate or methotrexate alone in early rheumatoid arthritis: 26-week results from the randomised, controlled OPTIMA study 
Objective
To assess the efficacy and safety of adalimumab plus methotrexate (ADA+MTX) compared with methotrexate monotherapy in achieving stable low disease activity (LDA; disease activity score (DAS28(CRP)) <3.2 at weeks 22 and 26) and clinical, radiographic and functional outcomes in methotrexate-naive patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
1032 patients with active RA were randomly assigned 1:1 to ADA+MTX or placebo plus methotrexate (PBO+MTX) for 26 weeks. Treatment modifications were to be made in a subsequent study period based on the achievement of DAS28(CRP) <3.2 at weeks 22 and 26. Post-hoc analyses compared patients achieving stable remission using DAS28 and 2010 ACR/EULAR criteria with those achieving LDA but not remission.
Results
Among patients completing 6 months, 44% (207/466) ADA+MTX versus 24% (112/460) PBO+MTX patients achieved stable LDA at weeks 22 and 26 (p<0.001). Combination therapy was statistically superior to methotrexate in obtaining higher ACR20/50/70 responses, more clinical remissions, greater mean reductions in DAS28(CRP), no radiographic progression, and normal functional status at week 26 (p<0.001 for all). The only factor predicting stable LDA was disease activity at week 12. Patients achieving ACR/EULAR remission, particularly in the PBO+MTX group, had some advantage in radiographic outcomes compared with patients who only achieved LDA (but not remission). The overall frequency of adverse events was comparable between groups. There were more serious infections and deaths in the ADA+MTX group, with a possible age effect.
Conclusions
Treatment with ADA+MTX was significantly superior to methotrexate alone with respect to clinical, radiographic and functional outcomes in patients with early active RA. Before initiating treatment with adalimumab, individual patient evaluation of the benefit/risk ratio should be carefully considered.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-201247
PMCID: PMC3551224  PMID: 22562973

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