Exploratory analyses of the association of MRI with clinical, laboratory and radiographic findings in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Paul Emery, Désirée van der Heijde, Mikkel Ostergaard, Philip G Conaghan, Mark C Genovese, Edward C Keystone, Roy Fleischmann, Elizabeth C Hsia, Weichun Xu, Stephen Xu, Mahboob U Rahman
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2011, 70 (12): 2126-30

OBJECTIVES: Evaluate relationships between MRI and clinical/laboratory/radiographic findings in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS: 637 methotrexate-naive patients (GO-BEFORE) and 444 patients with active RA despite methotrexate (GO-FORWARD) were randomly assigned to subcutaneous placebo + methotrexate, golimumab 100mg + placebo, golimumab 50mg + methotrexate, or golimumab 100mg + methotrexate every-4-weeks. In GO-BEFORE(n=318) and GO-FORWARD(n=240) substudies, MRI of dominant wrist/metacarpophalangeal joints were scored for synovitis, bone oedema and bone erosion (RA MRI scoring (RAMRIS) system). Relationships between RAMRIS scores and serum C-reactive protein (CRP), 28-joint count disease activity score (DAS28-CRP) and van der Heijde modified Sharp (vdH-S) scores were assessed.

RESULTS: Baseline and weeks 24/28 DAS28-CRP, CRP, and vdH-S generally correlated well with baseline and week 24 RAMRIS synovitis, oedema and erosion scores. Early (week 4) CRP changes correlated with later (week 12) RAMRIS synovitis/oedema change scores; earlier (week 12) changes in some RAMRIS scores correlated with later (weeks 24/28) changes in vdH-S. Significant correlations between RAMRIS change scores and clinical/radiographic change scores were weak.

CONCLUSIONS: MRI and clinical/laboratory/radiographic measures generally correlated well. Associations between earlier changes in CRP and later changes in RAMRIS synovitis/osteitis were observed. Changes in MRI and clinical/radiographic measures did not correlate well, probably because MRI is more sensitive than radiographs and more objective than DAS28-CRP.

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