[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently showed, using a candidate gene approach in a case-control association study, that a 65-kb block encompassing tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 1 (TRAF1) and C5 is strongly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Compared with case-control association studies, family-based studies have the added advantage of controlling potential differences in population structure and are not likely to be hampered by variation in population allele frequencies, as is seen for many genetic polymorphisms, including the TRAF1/C5 locus. The aim of this study was to confirm this association in populations of European origin by using a family-based approach.
A total of 1,356 western European white individuals from 452 "trio" families were genotyped for the rs10818488 polymorphism, using the TaqMan allelic discrimination assay.
We observed evidence for association, demonstrating departure from Mendel's law, with an overtransmission of the rs10818488 A allele (A = 55%; P = 0.036). By taking into consideration parental phenotypes, we also observed an increased A allele frequency in affected versus unaffected parents (A = 64%; combined P = 0.015). Individuals carrying the A allele had a 1.2-fold increased risk of developing RA (allelic odds ratio 1.24, 95% confidence interval 1.04-1.50).
Using a family-based study that is robust against population stratification, we provide evidence for the association of the TRAF1/C5 rs10818488 A allele and RA in populations of European descent, further substantiating our previous findings. Future functional studies should yield insight into the biologic relevance of this locus to the pathways involved in RA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Group for the Respect of Ethics and Excellence in Science (GREES) organized a working group to assess the value of time to joint surgery as a potential therapeutic failure outcome criterion for osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip or knee in the assessment of potential structure modifying agents.
PubMed was searched for manuscripts from 1976 to 2004. Relevant studies were discussed at a 1-day meeting.
There are no accepted guidelines for 'time to' and 'indications for' joint replacement surgery. A limited number of trials have examined joint replacement surgery within the study population. Several parameters, particularly joint space narrowing (interbone distance), correlate with surgical intervention. However, at the level of the knee, none of the parameters have positive predictive value for joint replacement surgery better than 30%. In contrast, lack of significant joint space narrowing has a strong negative predictive value for joint replacement surgery (>90%), that remains after controlling for OA pain severity.
At this time, GREES cannot recommend time to joint surgery as a primary endpoint of failure for structure modifying trials of hip or knee OA-as the parameter has sensitivity but lacks specificity. In contrast, in existing trials, a lack of progression of joint space narrowing has predictive value of >90% for not having surgery. GREES suggests utilizing joint space narrowing (e.g., >0.3-0.7 mm) combined with a lack of clinically relevant improvement in symptoms (e.g., >/=20-25%) for 'failure' of a secondary outcome in structure modifying trials of the hip and knee.
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 01/2005; 13(1):13-9. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To analyse the durability of the responses after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for severe systemic sclerosis (SSc) and determine whether the high transplant related mortality (TRM) improved with experience. This EBMT/EULAR report describes the longer outcome of patients originally described in addition to newly recruited cases.
Only patients with SSc, treated by HSCT in European phase I-II studies from 1996 up to 2002, with more than 6 months of follow up were included. Transplant regimens were according to the international consensus statements. Repeated evaluations analysed complete, partial, or non-response and the probability of disease progression and survival after HSCT (Kaplan-Meier).
Given as median (range). Among 57 patients aged 40 (9.1-68.7) years the skin scores improved at 6 (n = 37 patients), 12 (n = 30), 24 (n = 19), and 36 (n = 10) months after HSCT (p<0.005). After 22.9 (4.5-81.1) months, partial (n = 32) or complete response (n = 14) was seen in 92% and non-response in 8% (n = 4) of 50 observed cases. 35% of the patients with initial partial (n = 13/32) or complete response (n = 3/14) relapsed within 10 (2.2-48.7) months after HSCT. The TRM was 8.7% (n = 5/57). Deaths related to progression accounted for 14% (n = 8/57) of the 23% (n = 13/57) total mortality rate. At 5 years, progression probability was 48% (95% CI 28 to 68) and the projected survival was 72% (95% CI 59 to 75).
This EBMT/EULAR report showed that response in two thirds of the patients after HSCT was durable with an acceptable TRM. Based on these results prospective, randomised trials are proceeding.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 08/2004; 63(8):974-81. · 9.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IgG-containing immune complexes, which are found in most RA joints, communicate with hematopoietic cells using three classes of Fc receptors(Fc gamma RI, -II, -III). In a previous study we found that if a chronic T-cell-mediated antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) was elicited in knee joints of FcR gamma-chain-deficient mice that lack functional Fc gamma RI and Fc gamma RIII, joint inflammation was comparable but severe cartilage destruction was absent. We now examined the individual role of the stimulatory Fc gamma RI and Fc gamma RIII and inhibitory Fc gamma RII in inflammation and functional cartilage damage in knee joints with AIA using Fc gamma RI-, Fc gamma RII-, and Fc gamma RIII-deficient mice. Three weeks after immunization with the antigen-methylated bovine serum albumin (BSA), cellular (T-cell responses as measured by lymphocyte proliferation) immunity raised against mBSA was comparable in all groups examined. Humoral (total IgG, IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b levels) immunity against mBSA was comparable in Fc gamma RI-/- and Fc gamma RIII-/- but higher in Fc gamma RII-/- if compared to controls. Joint swelling as measured by (99m)Tc uptake at days 1, 3, and 7 was similar in Fc gamma RI-/- and Fc gamma RIII-/- mice and significantly higher in Fc gamma RII-/-. Chronic inflammation and cartilage damage (depletion of proteoglycans, metalloproteinase (MMP)-induced neoepitopes, and matrix erosion) was studied histologically in total knee joint sections stained with hematoxylin or safranin-O. Histologically, at day 7 after AIA induction, exudate and infiltrate in the knee joint was similar in Fc gamma RI-/- and Fc gamma RIII-/- and significantly higher (230% and 340%) in Fc gamma RII-/- mice if compared to controls. Aggrecan breakdown in cartilage caused by MMPs and, which is related to severe irreversible cartilage erosion, was further studied by immunolocalization of MMP-mediated neoepitopes (VDIPEN) and image analysis. MMP-induced neoepitopes determined in various cartilage layers (tibia and femur) were primarily inhibited in Fc gamma RI-/- (79 to 87% and 87 to 88%, respectively) and comparable in Fc gamma RIII-/-. VDIPEN neoepitopes were much higher (82 to 122% and 200 to 250%, respectively) in Fc gamma RII-/- mice. Initial depletion of proteoglycans was similar (60 to 100%) in all groups. In the chronic phase, cartilage matrix erosion in the lateral and medial tibia was significantly elevated in Fc gamma RII-/- (222% and 186%, respectively) but not in Fc gamma RI-/- or Fc gamma RIII-/- mice. These results suggest that during T-cell-mediated AIA, Fc gamma RI and Fc gamma RIII act in concert in acute and chronic inflammation whereas Fc gamma RI is the dominant FcR involved in severe cartilage destruction. Fc gamma RII is a crucial inhibiting factor in acute and chronic inflammation and cartilage erosion.
American Journal Of Pathology 01/2002; 159(6):2309-20. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study the possible relationship between the C677T mutation in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene and the toxicity and efficacy of treatment with methotrexate (MTX) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Genotype analysis of the MTHFR gene was done in 236 patients who started MTX treatment with (n = 157) or without (n = 79) folic or folinic acid supplementation. Outcomes were parameters of efficacy of MTX treatment, patient withdrawal due to adverse events, discontinuation of MTX treatment because of elevated liver enzyme levels, and the total occurrence of elevated liver enzyme levels during the study. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to study the relationship between the presence of the MTHFR C677T mutation and toxicity outcomes of MTX treatment.
Forty-eight percent of the patients showed the homozygous (T/T) or heterozygous (T/C) mutation. The presence of the C677CT or C677TT genotypes was associated with an increased risk of discontinuing MTX treatment because of adverse events (relative risk 2.01; 95% confidence interval 1.09, 3.70), mainly due to an increased risk of elevated liver enzyme levels (relative risk 2.38; 95% confidence interval 1.06, 5.34). Efficacy parameters were not significantly different between the patients with and those without the mutation.
The C677T mutation is the first identified genetic risk factor for elevated alanine aminotransferase values during MTX treatment in patients with RA. We postulate that the incidence of clinically important elevation of liver enzyme levels during MTX treatment is mediated by homocysteine metabolism. Supplementation with folic or folinic acid reduced the risk of toxicity-related discontinuation of MTX treatment both in patients with and in patients without the mutation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The need for prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) after total hip or knee replacement is obvious. However, the optimal regimen to achieve this remains to be defined. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) long term coumarins may not be necessary owing to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 103 patients in whom 151 surgical procedures were performed (55 hip and 96 knee prostheses) were treated only with short term subcutaneous heparin. NSAIDs were used daily in 85% of the patients, and they were continued after hospital discharge. Only one patient developed symptomatic deep venous thrombosis during one year follow up. Bleeding complications were seen in 20/151 (13%) of the surgical procedures, all clinically judged as minor, and recovery was not delayed except in one case. Short term (low molecular weight) heparin appears to be an adequate, simple, and safe method for prevention of symptomatic VTE in patients with RA after knee or hip replacement, though further studies are necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 11/2001; 60(10):974-6. · 9.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current pharmacotherapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) consists of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as sulphasalazine, leflunomide and methotrexate. DMARDs can be given as monotherapy or in combination. However, not all patients show an adequate response due to toxicity or lack of efficacy. From animal studies and clinical studies in patients with RA, we know that tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is directly involved in the pathogenesis of RA. Two forms of TNF inhibition therapy have been extensively investigated in RA: anti-TNF monoclonal antibodies (infliximab) and TNF receptor-Fc fusion protein (etanercept). Both types of TNF inhibition induce a rapid improvement in multiple clinical measures of disease activity and patient functional status. Furthermore, a beneficial effect was demonstrated on radiographic progression of joint damage. Etanercept and the combination infliximab-methotrexate are generally well tolerated.
Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 10/2001; 145(39):1880-5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated the short term efficacy of leflunomide. This study evaluates the efficacy and safety of leflunomide and sulfasalazine in rheumatoid arthritis over a two year follow up period.
358 patients with rheumatoid arthritis in a double blind trial were randomly allocated to receive either leflunomide 20 mg/day, placebo, or sulfasalazine 2 g/day. Those completing six months of treatment (n=230) were given the option to continue in 12 (n=168) and 24 (n=146) month double blinded extensions; the placebo group switched to sulfasalazine. This report compares efficacy and safety of leflunomide with sulfasalazine in the 6, 12, and 24 month patient cohorts.
The efficacy seen at six months was maintained at 12 and 24 months. Twenty four month cohorts on leflunomide showed significant improvement compared with sulfasalazine in doctor (-1.46 v -1.11, p=0.03) and patient (-1.61 v -1.04, p<0.001) global assessments, ACR20% response (82% v 60%, p<0.01), and functional ability (Deltamean HAQ -0.65 v -0.36, p=0.0149; DeltaHAQ disability index -0.89 v -0.60, p=0.059). Improvement in other variables was comparable for the two drugs, including slowing of disease progression. Improved HAQ scores in 6, 12, and 24 month leflunomide cohorts were seen in both non-responders (24%, 29%, 35%, respectively v sulfasalazine 8%, 10%, 27%) and ACR20% responders (leflunomide 63%, 62%, 66% v sulfasalazine 50%, 64%, 44%). Leflunomide is well tolerated at doses of 20 mg. No unexpected adverse events or late toxicity were noted during the two year period. Diarrhoea, nausea, and alopecia were less frequent with continued treatment.
These long term data confirm that leflunomide is an efficacious and safe disease modifying antirheumatic drug.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 10/2001; 60(10):913-23. · 9.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study the presence of chronic coexisting diseases in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its effect on RA treatment, disease course, and outcome during the first years of the disease.
From January 1985 to December 1990, 186 patients with recent onset RA were enrolled in a prospective longitudinal study. Between January 1991 and November 1992 patients were interviewed on the basis of a comorbidity questionnaire. For analysis the diseases were coded according to the International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) medical diagnoses. Disease activity during the period of followup was measured by the Disease Activity Score. Outcome in terms of physical disability (Health Assessment Questionnaire) and radiological damage (Sharp's modified version) over 3 and 6 year periods was determined.
In the group of 186 patients, with mean disease duration of 4.3 years at January 1991, 50 patients (27%) reported at least one chronic coexisting disease. The most frequently reported coexisting diseases were of cardiovascular (29%), respiratory (18%), or dermatological (11%) origin. For the major part (66%) chronic coexisting diseases were already present before onset of RA. No statistically significant differences in use of disease modifying antirheumatic drugs or corticosteroids were observed between RA patients with and without chronic coexisting diseases. No statistically significant differences were found in disease activity or in outcome in terms of physical disability and radiological damage over 3 and 6 year periods between the 2 groups with RA.
The results showed that about 27% of patients with RA in this inception cohort had at least one chronic coexisting disease. Treatment, disease course, and outcome did not differ between patients with and without chronic coexisting diseases during the first years of the disease.
The Journal of Rheumatology 08/2001; 28(7):1511-7. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study the short term effects of a single dose of D2E7, a fully human anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNFalpha) monoclonal antibody (mAb), on the local and systemic homeostasis of interleukin 1beta (IL1beta) and TNFalpha in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
All patients with RA enrolled in a phase I, single dose, placebo controlled study with D2E7 in our centre were studied. Systemic cytokine levels, acute phase reactants, and leucocyte counts were studied at days 0, 1, and 14 after the first administration of anti-TNF mAb (n=39) or placebo (n=11). The cellularity and the expression of IL1 and TNFalpha in synovial tissue were studied in knee biopsy specimens obtained at baseline and at day 14 in 25 consenting patients.
A single dose of anti-TNF mAb induced a rapid clinical improvement, a decrease in acute phase reaction, and increased lymphocyte counts in patients with active RA. The protein levels of IL1beta in the circulation were low and remained unchanged, but the systemic levels of IL1beta mRNA (p=0.002) and the concentrations of IL1 receptor antagonist (IL1ra) and IL6 (p=0.0001) had already dropped within 24 hours and this persisted up to day 14. Systemic levels of TNFalpha mRNA were low and remained unchanged, though total TNFalpha (free and bound) in the circulation increased after D2E7, probably reflecting the presence of TNF-antiTNF mAb complexes (p<0.005, at days 1 and 14). Both TNF receptors dropped below baseline levels at day 14 (p<0.005). Despite clinical improvement of arthritis, no consistent immunohistological changes were seen two weeks after anti-TNF administration. Endothelial staining for IL1beta tended to decrease in treated patients (p=0.06) but not in responders. The staining for IL1beta and TNFalpha in sublining layers and vessels was mutually correlated (r(s)=0.47 and 0.58 respectively, p<0.0005) and the microscopic scores for inflammation correlated with sublining TNFalpha and IL1beta scores (r(s)=0.65 and 0.54 respectively, p<0.0001), though none of these showed significant changes during the study.
Blocking TNFalpha in RA results in down regulation of IL1beta mRNA at the systemic level and in reduction of the endogenous antagonists for IL1 and TNF and of other cytokines related to the acute phase response, such as IL6, within days. At the synovial level, anti-TNF treatment does not modulate IL1beta and TNFalpha in the short term. The synovial expression of these cytokines does not reflect clinical response to TNF neutralisation.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 07/2001; 60(7):660-9. · 9.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (SSc, scleroderma) in either its diffuse or limited skin forms has a high mortality when vital organs are affected. No treatment has been shown to influence the outcome or significantly affect the skin score, though many forms of immunosuppression have been tried. Recent developments in haemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have allowed the application of profound immunosuppression followed by HSCT, or rescue, to autoimmune diseases such as SSc.
Results for 41 patients included in continuing multicentre open phase I/II studies using HSCT in the treatment of poor prognosis SSc are reported. Thirty seven patients had a predominantly diffuse skin form of the disease and four the limited form, with some clinical overlap. Median age was 41 years with a 5:1 female to male ratio. The skin score was >50% of maximum in 20/33 (61%) patients, with some lung disease attributable to SSc in 28/37 (76%), the forced vital capacity being <70% of the predicted value in 18/36 (50%). Pulmonary hypertension was described in 7/37 (19%) patients and renal disease in 5/37 (14%). The Scl-70 antibody was positive in 18/32 (56%) and the anticentromere antibody in 10% of evaluable patients. Peripheral blood stem cell mobilisation was performed with cyclophosphamide or granulocyte colony stimulating factor, alone or in combination. Thirty eight patients had ex vivo CD34 stem cell selection, with additional T cell depletion in seven. Seven conditioning regimens were used, but six of these used haemoimmunoablative doses of cyclophosphamide +/- anti-thymocyte globulin +/- total body irradiation. The median duration of follow up was 12 months (3-55).
An improvement in skin score of >25% after transplantation occurred in 20/29 (69%) evaluable patients, and deterioration in 2/29 (7%). Lung function did not change significantly after transplantation. One of five renal cases deteriorated but with no new occurrences of renal disease after HSCT, and the pulmonary hypertension did not progress in the evaluable cases. Disease progression was seen in 7/37 (19%) patients after HSCT with a median period of 67 (range 49-255) days. Eleven (27%) patients had died at census and seven (17%) deaths were considered to be related to the procedure (direct organ toxicity in four, haemorrhage in two, and infection/neutropenic fever in one). The cumulative probability of survival at one year was 73% (95% CI 58 to 88) by Kaplan-Meier analysis.
Despite a higher procedure related mortality rate from HSCT in SSc compared with patients with breast cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the marked impact on skin score, a surrogate marker of mortality, the trend towards stabilisation of lung involvement, and lack of other treatment alternatives justify further carefully designed studies. If future trials incorporate inclusion and exclusion criteria based on this preliminary experience, the predicted procedure related mortality should be around 10%.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 06/2001; 60(6):577-84. · 9.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methotrexate and leflunomide are both effective drugs in the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate has been available for many years, whereas leflunomide is a relatively new drug. Several large trials describing its efficacy and safety in comparison with both sulfasalazine and methotrexate and with placebo have been published recently. It appears that leflunomide is approximately equally effective as sulfasalazine and methotrexate. New data are also available on the mechanism of action of leflunomide especially. This drug probably acts as an immunomodulatory agent by interfering with the de novo synthesis of pyrimidines.
Current Opinion in Rheumatology 06/2001; 13(3):159-63. · 5.07 Impact Factor