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1.  Therapeutic Vaccination with TNF-Kinoid in TNF Antagonist-Resistant Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Phase II Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113465.
Objectives
Active immunization, or vaccination, with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-Kinoid (TNF-K) is a novel approach to induce polyclonal anti-TNF antibodies in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. This study was performed to transfer the proof of concept obtained in mice model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) into human. We designed a pilot study to demonstrate the feasibility of therapeutic vaccination in RA.
Methods
This was a phase IIa, placebo-controlled, multicenter study in adults with RA who previously experienced secondary failure of TNF antagonists. Patients were immunized intramuscularly with 2 or 3 doses of placebo (n = 10) or 90 (n = 6), 180 (n = 12), or 360 µg TNF-K (n = 12). The primary objective was to identify the best dose and schedule based on anti-TNF antibody titers. Clinical symptoms and safety were assessed during 12 months and solicited reactions for 7 days after each injection.
Results
The highest anti-TNF antibody response was detected in patients immunized with 360 µg TNF-K and with 3 injections, although this difference was not significant with all other groups. Similar proportions of patients receiving TNF-K and placebo reported adverse events up to month 12. Serious adverse events were reported by 4 patients treated with TNF-K (13.3%) and 3 treated with placebo (30.0%), all unrelated to treatment. At month 12, DAS28-CRP, tender and swollen joint counts, and HAQ scores decreased significantly more in patients who exhibited anti-TNF antibody response than in patients who did not.
Conclusions
TNF-K therapeutic vaccination induced dose- and schedule-dependent anti-TNF antibodies in RA patients and was well tolerated. Patients who developed anti-TNF antibodies showed a trend toward clinical improvement. Although the most aggressive dose and schedule, i.e. 360 mg dose administered 3 times, did show a strong trend of higher antibody response, further studies are warranted to examine even higher and more frequent doses in order to establish the best conditions for clinical improvement.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01040715
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113465
PMCID: PMC4269456  PMID: 25517733
2.  NCR3/NKp30 contributes to pathogenesis in primary Sjögren’s syndrome 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(195):195ra96.
Primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by a lymphocytic exocrinopathy. However, patients often have evidence of systemic autoimmunity and they are at markedly increased risk for the development of non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Similar to other autoimmune disorders, a strong interferon (IFN) signature is present among subsets of pSS patients, though the precise etiology remains uncertain. NCR3/NKp30 is a NK-specific activating receptor regulating the cross-talk between NK and dendritic cells and type II IFN secretion. We performed a case-control study of genetic polymorphisms of the NCR3/NKp30 gene and found that rs11575837 (G>A) residing in the promoter was associated with reduced gene transcription and function as well as protection to pSS. We also demonstrated that circulating levels of NCR3/NKp30 were markedly increased among pSS patients compared with controls and correlated with higher NCR3/NKp30 but not CD16-dependent IFN-γ secretion by NK cells. Excess accumulation of NK cells in minor salivary glands correlated with the severity of the exocrinopathy. B7H6, the ligand of NKp30, was expressed by salivary epithelial cells. These findings suggest that NK cells may promote an NKp30-dependent inflammatory state in salivary glands, and that blockade of the B7H6/NKp30 axis could be clinically relevant in pSS.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005727
PMCID: PMC4237161  PMID: 23884468
Sjögren’s syndrome; autoimmunity; NK cells; innate immunity; NKp30/NCR3
3.  Genome-wide association analysis of anti-TNF drug response in rheumatoid arthritis patients 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(8):1375-1381.
Background
Treatment strategies blocking tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) have proven very successful in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, a significant subset of patients does not respond for unknown reasons. Currently there are no means of identifying these patients prior to treatment. This study was aimed at identifying genetic factors predicting anti-TNF treatment outcome in patient with RA using a genome-wide association approach.
Methods
We conducted a multi-stage, genome-wide association study with a primary analysis of 2,557,253 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 882 RA patients receiving anti-TNF therapy included through the Dutch Rheumatoid Arthritis Monitoring (DREAM) registry and the database of Apotheekzorg. Linear regression analysis of changes in the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints after 14 weeks of treatment was performed using an additive model. Markers with a p<10−3 were selected for replication in 1,821 RA patients from three independent cohorts. Pathway analysis including all SNPs with a p-value < 10−3 was performed using Ingenuity.
Results
Seven hundred seventy two markers demonstrated evidence of association with treatment outcome in the initial stage. Eight genetic loci showed improved p-value in the overall meta-analysis compared to the first stage, three of which (rs1568885, rs1813443 and rs4411591) showed directional consistency over all four studied cohorts. We were unable to replicate markers previously reported to be associated with anti-TNF outcome. Network analysis indicated strong involvement of biological processes underlying inflammatory response and cell morphology.
Conclusion
Using a multi-stage strategy, we have identified 8 genetic loci associated with response to anti-TNF treatment. Further studies are required to validate these findings in additional patient collections.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202405
PMCID: PMC4169706  PMID: 23233654
anti-TNF; gene polymorphism; pharmacogenetics; rheumatoid arthritis; genome-wide association study
4.  Genetics of rheumatoid arthritis contributes to biology and drug discovery 
Okada, Yukinori | Wu, Di | Trynka, Gosia | Raj, Towfique | Terao, Chikashi | Ikari, Katsunori | Kochi, Yuta | Ohmura, Koichiro | Suzuki, Akari | Yoshida, Shinji | Graham, Robert R. | Manoharan, Arun | Ortmann, Ward | Bhangale, Tushar | Denny, Joshua C. | Carroll, Robert J. | Eyler, Anne E. | Greenberg, Jeffrey D. | Kremer, Joel M. | Pappas, Dimitrios A. | Jiang, Lei | Yin, Jian | Ye, Lingying | Su, Ding-Feng | Yang, Jian | Xie, Gang | Keystone, Ed | Westra, Harm-Jan | Esko, Tõnu | Metspalu, Andres | Zhou, Xuezhong | Gupta, Namrata | Mirel, Daniel | Stahl, Eli A. | Diogo, Dorothée | Cui, Jing | Liao, Katherine | Guo, Michael H. | Myouzen, Keiko | Kawaguchi, Takahisa | Coenen, Marieke J.H. | van Riel, Piet L.C.M. | van de Laar, Mart A.F.J. | Guchelaar, Henk-Jan | Huizinga, Tom W.J. | Dieudé, Philippe | Mariette, Xavier | Bridges, S. Louis | Zhernakova, Alexandra | Toes, Rene E.M. | Tak, Paul P. | Miceli-Richard, Corinne | Bang, So-Young | Lee, Hye-Soon | Martin, Javier | Gonzalez-Gay, Miguel A. | Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Luis | Rantapää-Dahlqvist, Solbritt | Ärlestig, Lisbeth | Choi, Hyon K. | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Galan, Pilar | Lathrop, Mark | Eyre, Steve | Bowes, John | Barton, Anne | de Vries, Niek | Moreland, Larry W. | Criswell, Lindsey A. | Karlson, Elizabeth W. | Taniguchi, Atsuo | Yamada, Ryo | Kubo, Michiaki | Liu, Jun S. | Bae, Sang-Cheol | Worthington, Jane | Padyukov, Leonid | Klareskog, Lars | Gregersen, Peter K. | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Stranger, Barbara E. | De Jager, Philip L. | Franke, Lude | Visscher, Peter M. | Brown, Matthew A. | Yamanaka, Hisashi | Mimori, Tsuneyo | Takahashi, Atsushi | Xu, Huji | Behrens, Timothy W. | Siminovitch, Katherine A. | Momohara, Shigeki | Matsuda, Fumihiko | Yamamoto, Kazuhiko | Plenge, Robert M.
Nature  2013;506(7488):376-381.
A major challenge in human genetics is to devise a systematic strategy to integrate disease-associated variants with diverse genomic and biological datasets to provide insight into disease pathogenesis and guide drug discovery for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)1. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis in a total of >100,000 subjects of European and Asian ancestries (29,880 RA cases and 73,758 controls), by evaluating ~10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We discovered 42 novel RA risk loci at a genome-wide level of significance, bringing the total to 1012–4. We devised an in-silico pipeline using established bioinformatics methods based on functional annotation5, cis-acting expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL)6, and pathway analyses7–9 – as well as novel methods based on genetic overlap with human primary immunodeficiency (PID), hematological cancer somatic mutations and knock-out mouse phenotypes – to identify 98 biological candidate genes at these 101 risk loci. We demonstrate that these genes are the targets of approved therapies for RA, and further suggest that drugs approved for other indications may be repurposed for the treatment of RA. Together, this comprehensive genetic study sheds light on fundamental genes, pathways and cell types that contribute to RA pathogenesis, and provides empirical evidence that the genetics of RA can provide important information for drug discovery.
doi:10.1038/nature12873
PMCID: PMC3944098  PMID: 24390342
6.  Evolution of Direct Costs in the First Years of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Impact of Early versus Late Biologic Initiation - An Economic Analysis Based on the ESPOIR Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97077.
Objectives
To estimate annual direct costs of early RA by resource component in an inception cohort, with reference to four distinct treatment strategies: no disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), synthetic DMARDs only, biologic DMARDs in the first year (‘first-year biologic’, FYB), and biologic DMARDs from the second year after inclusion (‘later-year biologic’, LYB); to determine predictors of total and non-DMARD related costs.
Methods
The ESPOIR cohort is a French multicentric, prospective study of 813 patients with early arthritis. Data assessing RA-related resource utilisation and disease characteristics were collected at baseline, biannually during the first two years and annually thereafter. Costs predictors were determined by generalised linear mixed analyses.
Results
Over the 4-year follow-up, mean annual direct total costs per treatment strategy group were €3,612 for all patients and €998, €1,922, €14,791, €8,477 respectively for no DMARDs, synthetic DMARDs only, FYB and LYB users. The main predictors of higher costs were biologic use and higher Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) scores at baseline. Being a biologic user led to a higher total cost (FYB Rate Ratio (RR) 7.22, [95% CI 5.59–9.31]; LYB RR 4.39, [95% CI 3.58–5.39]) compared to non-biologic users. Only LYB increased non-DMARD related costs compared to all other patients by 60%.
Conclusions
FYB users incurred the highest levels of total costs, while their non-DMARD related costs remained similar to non-biologic users, possibly reflecting better RA control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097077
PMCID: PMC4014570  PMID: 24811196
7.  Variants at multiple loci implicated in both innate and adaptive immune responses are associated with Sjögren’s syndrome 
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):10.1038/ng.2792.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a common autoimmune disease (~0.7% of European Americans) typically presenting as keratoconjunctivitis sicca and xerostomia. In addition to strong association within the HLA region at 6p21 (Pmeta=7.65×10−114), we establish associations with IRF5-TNPO3 (Pmeta=2.73×10−19), STAT4 (Pmeta=6.80×10−15), IL12A (Pmeta =1.17×10−10), FAM167A-BLK (Pmeta=4.97×10−10), DDX6-CXCR5 (Pmeta=1.10×10−8), and TNIP1 (Pmeta=3.30×10−8). Suggestive associations with Pmeta<5×10−5 were observed with 29 regions including TNFAIP3, PTTG1, PRDM1, DGKQ, FCGR2A, IRAK1BP1, ITSN2, and PHIP amongst others. These results highlight the importance of genes involved in both innate and adaptive immunity in Sjögren’s syndrome.
doi:10.1038/ng.2792
PMCID: PMC3867192  PMID: 24097067
8.  EULAR recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: 2013 update 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2013;73(3):492-509.
In this article, the 2010 European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (sDMARDs and bDMARDs, respectively) have been updated. The 2013 update has been developed by an international task force, which based its decisions mostly on evidence from three systematic literature reviews (one each on sDMARDs, including glucocorticoids, bDMARDs and safety aspects of DMARD therapy); treatment strategies were also covered by the searches. The evidence presented was discussed and summarised by the experts in the course of a consensus finding and voting process. Levels of evidence and grades of recommendations were derived and levels of agreement (strengths of recommendations) were determined. Fourteen recommendations were developed (instead of 15 in 2010). Some of the 2010 recommendations were deleted, and others were amended or split. The recommendations cover general aspects, such as attainment of remission or low disease activity using a treat-to-target approach, and the need for shared decision-making between rheumatologists and patients. The more specific items relate to starting DMARD therapy using a conventional sDMARD (csDMARD) strategy in combination with glucocorticoids, followed by the addition of a bDMARD or another csDMARD strategy (after stratification by presence or absence of adverse risk factors) if the treatment target is not reached within 6 months (or improvement not seen at 3 months). Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, biosimilars), abatacept, tocilizumab and, under certain circumstances, rituximab are essentially considered to have similar efficacy and safety. If the first bDMARD strategy fails, any other bDMARD may be used. The recommendations also address tofacitinib as a targeted sDMARD (tsDMARD), which is recommended, where licensed, after use of at least one bDMARD. Biosimilars are also addressed. These recommendations are intended to inform rheumatologists, patients, national rheumatology societies and other stakeholders about EULAR's most recent consensus on the management of RA with sDMARDs, glucocorticoids and bDMARDs. They are based on evidence and expert opinion and intended to improve outcome in patients with RA.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204573
PMCID: PMC3933074  PMID: 24161836
Rheumatoid Arthritis; DMARDs (synthetic); DMARDs (biologic); Treatment; Early Rheumatoid Arthritis
9.  Integration of Sequence Data from a Consanguineous Family with Genetic Data from an Outbred Population Identifies PLB1 as a Candidate Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Gene 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87645.
Integrating genetic data from families with highly penetrant forms of disease together with genetic data from outbred populations represents a promising strategy to uncover the complete frequency spectrum of risk alleles for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here, we demonstrate that rare, low-frequency and common alleles at one gene locus, phospholipase B1 (PLB1), might contribute to risk of RA in a 4-generation consanguineous pedigree (Middle Eastern ancestry) and also in unrelated individuals from the general population (European ancestry). Through identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified a non-synonymous c.2263G>C (p.G755R) mutation at the PLB1 gene on 2q23, which significantly co-segregated with RA in family members with a dominant mode of inheritance (P = 0.009). We further evaluated PLB1 variants and risk of RA using a GWAS meta-analysis of 8,875 RA cases and 29,367 controls of European ancestry. We identified significant contributions of two independent non-coding variants near PLB1 with risk of RA (rs116018341 [MAF = 0.042] and rs116541814 [MAF = 0.021], combined P = 3.2×10−6). Finally, we performed deep exon sequencing of PLB1 in 1,088 RA cases and 1,088 controls (European ancestry), and identified suggestive dispersion of rare protein-coding variant frequencies between cases and controls (P = 0.049 for C-alpha test and P = 0.055 for SKAT). Together, these data suggest that PLB1 is a candidate risk gene for RA. Future studies to characterize the full spectrum of genetic risk in the PLB1 genetic locus are warranted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087645
PMCID: PMC3919745  PMID: 24520335
10.  Safety and effectiveness of adalimumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis over 5 years of therapy in a phase 3b and subsequent postmarketing observational study 
Introduction
Patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who had failed at least one disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) were treated with adalimumab (ADA) in the ReAct study with the option to continue treatment for 5 years in ReAlise. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of ADA as prescribed from the first injection in ReAct to the last observation in ReAlise.
Methods
Patients received ADA alone or in combination with DMARDs according to usual clinical care practices. Adverse events (AEs) were tabulated by five time windows after the first ADA injection. Effectiveness measures included achievement of low disease activity (LDA), defined as Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI) ≤11, or remission, (REM), defined as SDAI ≤3.3.
Results
Of the 6,610 ReAct patients, 3,435 (52%) continued in ReAlise. At baseline in ReAct, mean age was 54 years, mean DAS28 was 6.0 and mean HAQ DI was 1.64. The mean treatment duration was 1,016 days, representing 18,272 patient-years (PYs) of ADA exposure. Overall incidence rates of serious AEs and serious infections were 13.8 and 2.8 events (E)/100 PYs, respectively. Serious AEs occurred most frequently in the first 6 months and deceased thereafter. Standardised mortality ratio was 0.71 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.87) and standardised incidence ratio for malignancies was 0.64 (95% CI 0.53 to 0.76). LDA was achieved by 50% and REM by 21% of patients at last observation.
Conclusions
Results of this large observational study of ADA in routine clinical practice were consistent with controlled trials, with no new safety concerns during a follow-up of more than 5 years. Effectiveness of ADA was maintained during long-term observation.
Trial registration
NCT00448383, NCT00234884
doi:10.1186/ar4452
PMCID: PMC3979145  PMID: 24460746
11.  Serum Levels of Beta2-Microglobulin and Free Light Chains of Immunoglobulins Are Associated with Systemic Disease Activity in Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome. Data at Enrollment in the Prospective ASSESS Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e59868.
Objectives
To analyze the clinical and immunological characteristics at enrollment in a large prospective cohort of patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) and to investigate the association between serum BAFF, beta2-microglobulin and free light chains of immunoglobulins and systemic disease activity at enrollment.
Methods
Three hundred and ninety five patients with pSS according to American-European Consensus Criteria were included from fifteen centers of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine in the “Assessment of Systemic Signs and Evolution of Sjögren's Syndrome” (ASSESS) 5-year prospective cohort. At enrollment, serum markers were assessed as well as activity of the disease measured with the EULAR Sjögren's Syndrome Disease Activity Index (ESSDAI).
Results
Patient median age was 58 (25th–75th: 51–67) and median disease duration was 5 (2–9) years. Median ESSDAI at enrollment was 2 (0–7) with 30.9% of patients having features of systemic involvement. Patients with elevated BAFF, beta2-microglobulin and kappa, lambda FLCS had higher ESSDAI scores at enrollment (4 [2]–[11] vs 2 [0–7], P = 0.03; 4 [1]–[11] vs 2 [0–7], P< 0.0001); 4 [2]–[10] vs 2 [0–6.6], P< 0.0001 and 4 [2–8.2] vs 2 [0–7.0], P = 0.02, respectively). In multivariate analysis, increased beta2-microglobulin, kappa and lambda FLCs were associated with a higher ESSDAI score. Median BAFF and beta2-microglobulin were higher in the 16 patients with history of lymphoma (1173.3(873.1–3665.5) vs 898.9 (715.9–1187.2) pg/ml, P = 0.01 and 2.6 (2.2–2.9) vs 2.1 (1.8–2.6) mg/l, P = 0.04, respectively).
Conclusion
In pSS, higher levels of beta2-microglobulin and free light chains of immunoglobulins are associated with increased systemic disease activity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059868
PMCID: PMC3663789  PMID: 23717383
12.  The ability of synovitis to predict structural damage in rheumatoid arthritis: a comparative study between clinical examination and ultrasound 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(5):665-671.
Objectives
To evaluate synovitis (clinical vs ultrasound (US)) to predict structural progression in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
Patients with RA.
Study design
Prospective, 2-year follow-up.
Data collected
Synovitis (32 joints (2 wrists, 10 metacarpophalangeal, 10 proximal interphalangeal, 10 metatarsophalangeal)) at baseline and after 4 months of therapy by clinical, US grey scale (GS-US) and power doppler (PD-US); x-rays at baseline and at year 2.
Analysis
Measures of association (OR) were tested between structural deterioration and the presence of baseline synovitis, or its persistence, after 4 months of therapy using generalised estimating equation analysis.
Results
Structural deterioration was observed in 9% of the 1888 evaluated joints in 59 patients. Baseline synovitis increased the risk of structural progression: OR=2.01 (1.36–2.98) p<0.001 versus 1.61 (1.06–2.45) p=0.026 versus 1.75 (1.18–2.58) p=0.005 for the clinical versus US-GS versus US-PD evaluation, respectively. In the joints with normal baseline examination (clinical or US), an increased probability for structural progression in the presence of synovitis for the other modality was also observed (OR=2.16 (1.16–4.02) p=0.015 and 3.50 (1.77–6.95) p<0.001 for US-GS and US-PD and 2.79 (1.35–5.76) p=0.002) for clinical examination. Persistent (vs disappearance) synovitis after 4 months of therapy was also predictive of subsequent structural progression.
Conclusions
This study confirms the validity of synovitis for predicting subsequent structural deterioration irrespective of the modality of examination of joints, but also suggests that both clinical and ultrasonographic examinations may be relevant to optimally evaluate the risk of subsequent structural deterioration.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201469
PMCID: PMC3618684  PMID: 22679298
13.  Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Analysis Identifies CD84 as a Predictor of Response to Etanercept Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003394.
Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNF) biologic therapy is a widely used treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is unknown why some RA patients fail to respond adequately to anti-TNF therapy, which limits the development of clinical biomarkers to predict response or new drugs to target refractory cases. To understand the biological basis of response to anti-TNF therapy, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of more than 2 million common variants in 2,706 RA patients from 13 different collections. Patients were treated with one of three anti-TNF medications: etanercept (n = 733), infliximab (n = 894), or adalimumab (n = 1,071). We identified a SNP (rs6427528) at the 1q23 locus that was associated with change in disease activity score (ΔDAS) in the etanercept subset of patients (P = 8×10−8), but not in the infliximab or adalimumab subsets (P>0.05). The SNP is predicted to disrupt transcription factor binding site motifs in the 3′ UTR of an immune-related gene, CD84, and the allele associated with better response to etanercept was associated with higher CD84 gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (P = 1×10−11 in 228 non-RA patients and P = 0.004 in 132 RA patients). Consistent with the genetic findings, higher CD84 gene expression correlated with lower cross-sectional DAS (P = 0.02, n = 210) and showed a non-significant trend for better ΔDAS in a subset of RA patients with gene expression data (n = 31, etanercept-treated). A small, multi-ethnic replication showed a non-significant trend towards an association among etanercept-treated RA patients of Portuguese ancestry (n = 139, P = 0.4), but no association among patients of Japanese ancestry (n = 151, P = 0.8). Our study demonstrates that an allele associated with response to etanercept therapy is also associated with CD84 gene expression, and further that CD84 expression correlates with disease activity. These findings support a model in which CD84 genotypes and/or expression may serve as a useful biomarker for response to etanercept treatment in RA patients of European ancestry.
Author Summary
There are no genetic predictors of response to one of the most widely used classes of drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis—biological modifiers of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (or anti-TNF therapy). To identify genetic predictors, we performed the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date as part of an international collaboration. In our study, which included 2,706 RA patients treated with one of three anti-TNF drugs, the most significant finding was restricted to RA patients treated with etanercept (P = 8×10−8), a drug that acts as a soluble receptor to bind circulating cytokine and prevents TNF from binding to its cell surface receptor. The associated variant influences expression of a nearby immune-related gene, CD84, whose expression is correlated with disease activity in RA patients. Together, our data support a model in which genomic factors related to CD84 expression serve as a predictor of disease activity and response to etanercept therapy among RA patients of European ancestry, but not anti-TNF therapies that act through different biological mechanisms or potentially in RA patients of other genetic ancestries.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003394
PMCID: PMC3610685  PMID: 23555300
14.  How does BAFF activate B cells in patients with autoimmune diseases? 
In a study in a recent issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, Yoshimoto and colleagues demonstrate that peripheral monocytes from patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS) produce significantly higher amounts of B cell-activating factor (BAFF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in comparison with normal monocytes. This difference exists at baseline and is amplified after stimulation with interferon-gamma. Increased IL-6 secretion is partially suppressed by an anti-BAFF antibody, suggesting that signal transduction pathways mediated by BAFF are implicated in the regulation of IL-6 production by monocytes. The origin and pathways involved in this higher susceptibility to BAFF-driven IL-6 induction by monocytes of patients with SS are still unknown.
doi:10.1186/ar3729
PMCID: PMC3392821  PMID: 22360881
15.  Association of an IRF5 gene functional polymorphism with Sjögren's syndrome 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2007;56(12):3989-3994.
Objective
Interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 5 (IRF-5) is a transcription factor involved in the regulation of host defense. Previous reports have demonstrated a significant association of various IRF-5 polymorphisms with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), among Caucasians. This case-control study aimed to investigate whether IRF-5 polymorphisms were involved in the genetic predisposition to primary Sjögren Syndrome (pSS), an autoimmune disease closely related to SLE.
Methods
We analyzed IRF-5 rs2004640, rs2070197, rs10954213, and rs2280714 polymorphisms in a cohort of 212 pSS patients and 162 controls, all of Caucasian origin. The four studied polymorphisms were genotyped by competitive allele specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using FRET technology.
Results
The IRF-5 rs2004640 GT or TT genotypes (T allele carriers) were found among 87% of pSS patients compared with 77% in controls (P=0.01; OR1.93, 95%IC [1.15–3.42]). Likewise, IRF-5 rs2004640 T allele was found on 59% of chromosomes in pSS patients compared with 52% in controls (P=0.04; OR 1.36, 95% CI [1.01–1.83]). No significant association was evidenced with rs2070197, rs10954213, and rs2280714 when analyzed independently. Nevertheless, haplotype reconstructions based on the four studied polymorphisms suggest that various allele combinations of rs2004640 and rs2070197 could define susceptibility or protective haplotypes.
Conclusion
We demonstrated for the first time a significant association of IRF-5 rs2004640 T allele with pSS. These results, which require further replication on larger sample sized populations suggest that, beside association with identical major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene polymorphisms, pSS and SLE also share IRF-5 polymorphism as a common genetic susceptibility factor.
doi:10.1002/art.23142
PMCID: PMC3184606  PMID: 18050197
Alleles; Case-Control Studies; Genetic Predisposition to Disease; genetics; Genotype; Haplotypes; Humans; Interferon Regulatory Factors; genetics; Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic; genetics; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide; genetics; Sjogren's Syndrome; genetics; IRF-5; Sjögren's syndrome; genetic polymorphism; haplotype
16.  Updated consensus statement on the use of rituximab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;70(6):909-920.
Background
Since initial approval for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), rituximab has been evaluated in clinical trials involving various populations with RA. Information has also been gathered from registries. This report therefore updates the 2007 consensus document on the use of rituximab in the treatment of RA.
Methods
Preparation of this new document involved many international experts experienced in the treatment of RA. Following a meeting to agree upon the core agenda, a systematic literature review was undertaken to identify all relevant data. Data were then interrogated by a drafting committee, with subsequent review and discussion by a wider expert committee leading to the formulation of an updated consensus statement. These committees also included patients with RA.
Results
The new statement covers wide-ranging issues including the use of rituximab in earlier RA and impact on structural progression, and aspects particularly pertinent to rituximab such as co-medication, optimal dosage regimens, repeat treatment cycles and how to manage non-response. Biological therapy following rituximab usage is also addressed, and safety concerns including appropriate screening for hepatitis, immunoglobulin levels and infection risk. This consensus statement will support clinicians and inform patients when using B-cell depletion in the management of RA, providing up-to-date information and highlighting areas for further research.
Conclusion
New therapeutic strategies and treatment options for RA, a chronic destructive and disabling disease, have expanded over recent years. These have been summarised in general strategic suggestions and specific management recommendations, emphasising the importance of expedient disease-modifying antirheumatic drug implementation and tight disease control. This consensus statement is in line with these fundamental principles of management.
doi:10.1136/ard.2010.144998
PMCID: PMC3086093  PMID: 21378402
17.  Tumour necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFRSF1B) association study in Sjögren's syndrome 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(12):1684-1685.
doi:10.1136/ard.2007.071167
PMCID: PMC2095302  PMID: 17998218
Sjögren syndrome; tumour necrosis factor receptor 2; association
18.  Comparison of in vitro‐specific blood tests with tuberculin skin test for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis before anti‐TNF therapy 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(12):1610-1615.
Introduction
Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is detected with the tuberculin skin test (TST) before anti‐TNF therapy. We aimed to investigate in vitro blood assays with TB‐specific antigens (CFP‐10, ESAT‐6), in immune‐mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID) for LTBI screening.
Patients and methods
Sixty‐eight IMID patients with (n = 35) or without (n = 33) LTBI according to clinico‐radiographic findings or TST results (10 mm cutoff value) underwent cell proliferation assessed by thymidine incorporation and PKH‐26 dilution assays, and IFNγ‐release enzyme‐linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assays with TB‐specific antigens.
Results
In vitro blood assays gave higher positive results in patients with LTBI than without (p<0.05), with some variations between tests. Among the 13 patients with LTBI diagnosed independently of TST results, 5 had a negative TST (38.5%) and only 2 a negative blood assays result (15.4%). The 5 LTBI patients with negative TST results all had positive blood assays results. Ten patients without LTBI but with intermediate TST results (6–10 mm) had no different result than patients with TST result ⩽5 mm (p>0.3) and lower results than those with LTBI (p<0.05) on CFP‐10+ESAT‐6 ELISPOT and CFP‐10 proliferation assays.
Conclusion
Anti‐TB blood assays are beneficial for LTBI diagnosis in IMID. Compared with TST, they show a better sensitivity, as seen by positive results in 5 patients with certain LTBI and negative TST, and better specificity, as seen by negative results in most patients with intermediate TST as the only criteria of LTBI. In the absence of clinico‐radiographic findings for LTBI, blood assays could replace TST for antibiotherapy decision before anti‐TNF.
doi:10.1136/ard.2007.069799
PMCID: PMC2095326  PMID: 17456528
19.  EULAR Sjogren's syndrome disease activity index: development of a consensus systemic disease activity index for primary Sjogren's syndrome 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2009;69(6):1103-1109.
Objective
To develop a disease activity index for patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome (SS): the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Sjögren’s Syndrome Disease Activity Index (ESSDAI).
Methods
Thirty-nine SS experts participated in an international collaboration, promoted by EULAR, to develop the ESSDAI. Experts identified 12 organ-specific “domains” contributing to disease activity. For each domain, features of disease activity were classified in 3 or 4 levels according to their severity. Data abstracted from 96 patients with systemic complications of primary SS were used to generate 702 realistic vignettes for which all possible systemic complications were represented. Using the 0–10 physician global assessment (PhGA) scale, each expert scored the disease activity of 5 patient profiles and 20 realistic vignettes. Multiple regression modelling, with PhGA used as the dependent variable, was used to estimate the weight of each domain.
Results
All 12 domains were significantly associated with disease activity in the multivariate model, domain weights ranged from 1 to 6. The ESSDAI scores varied from 2 to 47 and were significantly correlated with PhGA for both real patient profiles and realistic vignettes (r=0.61 and r=0.58, respectively, p<0.0001). Compared to 57 (59.4%) of the real patient profiles, 468 (66.7%) of the realistic vignettes were considered likely or very likely to be true.
Conclusion
The ESSDAI is a clinical index designed to measure disease activity in patients with primary SS. Once validated, such a standardized evaluation of primary SS should facilitate clinical research and should be helpful as an outcome measure in clinical trials.
doi:10.1136/ard.2009.110619
PMCID: PMC2937022  PMID: 19561361
primary Sjogren's syndrome; outcome assessment; systemic features; activity index; clinical vignettes; disease activity
20.  Lymphoma in patients treated with anti-TNF: results of the 3-year prospective French RATIO registry 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2009;69(2):400-408.
Objective
To describe cases of lymphoma associated with anti-TNF therapy, identify risk factors, estimate the incidence and compare risks for different anti-TNF agents.
Methods
We designed a national prospective registry (RATIO) from 2004 to 2006, for collecting all cases of lymphoma in French patients receiving anti-TNF therapy, whatever the indication. We conducted a case-control analysis including two controls treated with anti-TNF per case and an incidence study of lymphoma with the French population used as reference..
Results
We collected 38 cases of lymphoma, 31 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) (26 B-cell and 5 T-cell), 5 Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) and 2 Hodgkin’s-like lymphoma. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was detected in 2 of 2 Hodgkin’s-like lymphoma, 3 of 5 HL and one NHL. Patients receiving adalimumab or infliximab had a higher risk than those treated with etanercept: SIR = 4.1 (2.3–7.1) and 3.6 (2.3–5.6) versus 0.9 (0.4– 1.8). The exposure to adalimumab or infliximab versus etanercept was an independent risk factor for lymphoma in the case-control study: odds ratio=4.7 (1.3– 17.7) and 4.1 (1.4–12.5), respectively. The sex and age- adjusted incidence rate of lymphoma was 42.1 per 100,000 patient-years. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) was 2.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7–3.2).
Conclusion
Some lymphomas associated with immunosuppression may occur in patients receiving anti TNF therapy, and the risk of lymphoma is higher with monoclonal-antibody therapy than with soluble-receptor therapy.
doi:10.1136/ard.2009.117762
PMCID: PMC2925048  PMID: 19828563
Aged; Antirheumatic Agents; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Arthritis; drug therapy; Epidemiologic Methods; Female; France; epidemiology; Humans; Immunocompromised Host; Immunosuppressive Agents; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Lymphoma; chemically induced; epidemiology; immunology; Male; Middle Aged; Registries; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; antagonists & inhibitors; Anti-TNF; Lymphoma; Safety; Rheumatoid arthritis; Spondylarthropathies
21.  Risk of tuberculosis is higher with anti-tumor necrosis factor monoclonal antibody therapy than with soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor therapy: The three-year prospective French Research Axed on Tolerance of Biotherapies registry 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2009;60(7):1884-1894.
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) is associated with anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) therapy but whether it is drug-specific remains a concern. Our objective was to describe cases of tuberculosis associated with anti-TNF therapy, identify risk factors and estimate the incidence.
Methods
An incidence study with the French population as reference and a case-control analysis. We collected, for 3 years, cases of TB among French patients receiving anti-TNF therapy, whatever the indication, with two controls treated with anti-TNF agents per case.
Results
We collected 69 cases of TB in patients treated for rheumatoid arthritis (n=40), spondylarthropathies (n=18), inflammatory colitis (n=9), psoriasis (n=1) and Behçet’s disease (n=1) treated with infliximab (n=36), adalimumab (n=28) and etanercept (n=5). None of the cases had received correct chemoprophylaxis treatment. The sex and age-adjusted incidence rate of TB was 116.7 per 100,000 patient-years. The SIR was 12.2 (95% confidence interval 9.7–15.5) and was higher for therapy with infliximab and adalimumab than for that with etanercept: 18.6 (13.4–25.8) and 29.3 (20.2–42.4) versus 1.8 (0.7–4.3), respectively. In the case-control analysis, the exposure to infliximab or adalimumab versus etanercept was an independent risk factor for TB: odds ratio=13.3 (2.6–69.0) and 17.1 (3.6–80.6), respectively. Other risk factors were age, the first year of anti-TNF treatment, and being born in an endemic area.
Conclusions
The risk of TB is higher for patients receiving monoclonal-antibody than soluble-receptor anti-TNF therapy. The increased risk with early anti-TNF treatment and the absence of correct chemoprophylaxis treatment favours the reactivation of latent TB.
doi:10.1002/art.24632
PMCID: PMC2921546  PMID: 19565495
Adult; Aged; Antibodies, Monoclonal; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Arthritis, Rheumatoid; drug therapy; Behcet Syndrome; drug therapy; Case-Control Studies; Colitis; drug therapy; Female; France; Humans; Immunoglobulin G; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Male; Middle Aged; Prospective Studies; Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor; therapeutic use; Registries; Risk Factors; Spondylarthritis; drug therapy; Treatment Outcome; Tuberculosis; chemically induced; drug therapy; epidemiology; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; immunology; anti-TNF-alpha; tuberculosis; safety; rheumatoid arthritis; inflammatory chronic diseases
22.  Risk factors for total joint arthroplasty infection in patients receiving tumor necrosis factor α-blockers: a case-control study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R145.
Introduction
The objective of this study was to assess natural microbial agents, history and risk factors for total joint arthroplasty (TJA) infections in patients receiving tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α-blockers, through the French RATIO registry and a case-control study.
Methods
Cases were TJA infections during TNFα-blocker treatments. Each case was compared to two controls (with TJA and TNFα-blocker therapy, but without TJA infection) matched on age (±15 years), TJA localization, type of rheumatic disorder and disease duration (±15 years). Statistical analyses included univariate and multivariate analyses with conditional logistic regression.
Results
In the 20 cases (18 rheumatoid arthritis), TJA infection concerned principally the knee (n = 12, 60%) and the hip (n = 5, 25%). Staphylococcus was the more frequent microorganism involved (n = 15, 75%). Four patients (20%) were hospitalized in an intensive care unit and two died from infection. Eight cases (40%) versus 5 controls (13%) had undergone primary TJA or TJA revision for the joint subsequently infected during the last year (P = 0.03). Of these procedures, 5 cases versus 1 control were performed without withdrawing TNFα-blockers (P = 0.08). In multivariate analysis, predictors of infection were primary TJA or TJA revision for the joint subsequently infected within the last year (odds ratio, OR = 88.3; 95%CI 1.1-7,071.6; P = 0.04) and increased daily steroid intake (OR = 5.0 per 5 mg/d increase; 1.1-21.6; P = 0.03). Case-control comparisons showed similar distribution between TNFα-blockers (P = 0.70).
Conclusions
In patients receiving TNFα-blockers, TJA infection is rare but potentially severe. Important risk factors are primary TJA or TJA revision within the last year, particularly when TNFα-blockers are not interrupted before surgery, and the daily steroid intake.
doi:10.1186/ar3087
PMCID: PMC2945039  PMID: 20637100
23.  Adalimumab alone and in combination with disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in clinical practice: the Research in Active Rheumatoid Arthritis (ReAct) trial 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(6):732-739.
Objective
To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of adalimumab alone or in combination with standard disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
Patients with active RA despite treatment with DMARDs or prior treatment with a tumour necrosis factor antagonist participated in a multicentre, open‐label clinical study of adalimumab 40 mg every other week for 12 weeks with an optional extension phase. Patients were allowed to continue with pre‐existing traditional DMARDs. Long‐term safety results are reported for all patients (4210 patient‐years (PYs) of adalimumab exposure). The observed effectiveness results at week 12 are reported using American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria.
Results
Among the 6610 treated patients, adalimumab was generally well tolerated. Serious infections occurred in 3.1% of patients (5.5/100 PYs, including active tuberculosis, 0.5/100 PYs). Demyelinating disease (0.06%) and systemic lupus erythematosus (0.03%) were rare serious adverse events. The standardised incidence ratio of malignancy was 0.71 (95% CI 0.49 to 1.01). The standardised mortality ratio was 1.07 (95% CI 0.75 to 1.49). At week 12, 69% of patients achieved an ACR20 response, 83% a moderate, and 33% a good EULAR response. Adalimumab was effective in combination with a variety of DMARDs. The addition of adalimumab to antimalarials was comparably effective to the combination of adalimumab and methotrexate.
Conclusions
Considering the limitations of an open‐label study, adalimumab alone or in combination with standard DMARDs appeared to be well tolerated and effective in 6610 difficult‐to‐treat patients with active RA treated in clinical practice.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.066761
PMCID: PMC1954645  PMID: 17329305
adalimumab; rheumatoid arthritis; tumour necrosis factor; monoclonal antibody; antirheumatic agents
24.  Increase of B cell‐activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF) after rituximab treatment: insights into a new regulating system of BAFF production 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(5):700-703.
Background
The cytokine B cell‐activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF) is involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.
Objective
To access changes in serum protein and mRNA levels of BAFF after rituximab treatment.
Methods
Serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from five patients (two with lupus, two with Sjögren's syndrome, one with rheumatoid arthritis) before and 12 weeks (range 7–17) after a first course of rituximab infusion. Monocytes and B cells were selected from healthy controls and cocultured for 72 h. BAFF protein and mRNA levels were assessed by ELISA and real‐time PCR, respectively.
Results
After rituximab treatment, median serum BAFF protein level and BAFF to actin mRNA ratio in PBMCs significantly increased. In monocytes cocultured with autologous B cells, BAFF protein level decreased, whereas the mRNA level was stable. In one closely monitored patient, the mRNA ratio of BAFF to actin in PBMCs increased later than the BAFF serum level.
Conclusions
Two distinct mechanisms are probably involved in the increase in BAFF level after B cell depletion: (1) the decrease in its receptors leading to a release of BAFF; (2) a delayed regulation of BAFF mRNA transcription. This could favour the re‐emergence of autoreactive B cells.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.060772
PMCID: PMC1954605  PMID: 17040963
25.  Increased levels of circulating microparticles in primary Sjögren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis and relation with disease activity 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(5):R156.
Introduction
Cell stimulation leads to the shedding of phosphatidylserine (PS)-rich microparticles (MPs). Because autoimmune diseases (AIDs) are characterized by cell activation, we investigated level of circulating MPs as a possible biomarker in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
We measured plasma levels of total, platelet and leukocyte MPs by prothrombinase capture assay and flow cytometry in 43 patients with pSS, 20 with SLE and 24 with RA and in 44 healthy controls (HCs). Secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) activity was assessed by fluorometry. Soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L) and soluble P-selectin (sCD62P), reflecting platelet activation, were measured by ELISA.
Results
Patients with pSS showed increased plasma level of total MPs (mean ± SEM 8.49 ± 1.14 nM PS equivalent (Eq), P < 0.0001), as did patients with RA (7.23 ± 1.05 n PS Eq, P = 0.004) and SLE (7.3 ± 1.25 nM PS Eq, P = 0.0004), as compared with HCs (4.13 ± 0.2 nM PS Eq). Patients with AIDs all showed increased level of platelet MPs (P < 0.0001), but only those with pSS showed increased level of leukocyte MPs (P < 0.0001). Results by capture assay and flow cytometry were correlated. In patients with high disease activity according to extra-glandular complications (pSS), DAS28 (RA) or SLEDAI (SLE) compared with low-activity patients, the MP level was only slightly increased in comparison with those having a low disease activity. Platelet MP level was inversely correlated with anti-DNA antibody level in SLE (r = -0.65; P = 0.003) and serum β2 microglobulin level in pSS (r = -0.37; P < 0.03). The levels of total and platelet MPs were inversely correlated with sPLA2 activity (r = -0.37, P = 0.0007; r = -0.36, P = 0.002, respectively). sCD40L and sCD62P concentrations were significantly higher in pSS than in HC (P ≤ 0.006).
Conclusions
Plasma MP level is elevated in pSS, as well as in SLE and RA, and could be used as a biomarker reflecting systemic cell activation. Level of leukocyte-derived MPs is increased in pSS only. The MP level is low in case of more severe AID, probably because of high secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) activity, which leads to consumption of MPs. Increase of platelet-derived MPs, sCD40L and sCD62P, highlights platelet activation in pSS.
doi:10.1186/ar2833
PMCID: PMC2787287  PMID: 19832990

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