Evidence for treating rheumatoid arthritis to target: Results of a systematic literature search

Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine 3, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, Vienna, Austria.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases (Impact Factor: 10.38). 04/2010; 69(4):638-43. DOI: 10.1136/ard.2009.123976
Source: PubMed


To summarise existing evidence on a target oriented approach for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment.
We conducted a systematic literature search including all clinical trials testing clinical, functional, or structural values of a targeted treatment approach. Our search covered Medline, Embase and Cochrane databases until December 2008 and also conference abstracts (2007, 2008).
The primary search yielded 5881 citations; after the selection process, 76 papers underwent detailed review. Of these, only seven strategic clinical trials were extracted: four studies randomised patients to routine or targeted treatment, two compared two different randomised targets and one compared targeted treatment to a historical control group. Five trials dealt with early RA patients. All identified studies showed significantly better clinical outcomes of targeted approaches than routine approaches. Disability was reported in two studies with no difference between groups. Four studies compared radiographic outcomes, two showing significant benefit of the targeted approach.
Only few studies employed randomised controlled settings to test the value of treatment to a specific target. However, they provided unanimous evidence for benefits of targeted approaches. Nevertheless, more data on radiographic and functional outcomes and on patients with established RA are needed.

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Available from: Johannes W J Bijlsma
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    • "At present, our ability to predict this heterogeneity is poor, likely because of limitations in understanding its molecular complexity. Recent efforts to improve outcome in patients with RA have focused on the early stages of the disease [1], when aggressive treatment can slow progression and change long-term course. Currently, another crucial therapeutic goal is to delay/prevent progression of undifferentiated arthritis (UA) and one of the challenges faced by rheumatologists is the classification of these patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: Suitable biomarkers are essential for the design of therapeutic strategies in personalized medicine. Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) has demonstrated immunomodulatory properties in autoimmune murine and ex vivo human models. Our aim was to study serum levels of VIP during the follow-up of an early arthritis (EA) cohort and to analyze its value as a biomarker predicting severity and therapeutic requirements. Data from 91 patients on an EA register were analyzed (76% rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 24% undifferentiated arthritis, 73% women, and median age 54 years; median disease duration at entry, 5.4 months). We collected per protocol sociodemographic, clinical, and therapeutic data. VIP levels were determined by enzyme immunoassay in sera harvested from the 91 patients (353 visits; 3.9 visit/patient) and from 100 healthy controls. VIP values below the 25(th) percentile of those assessed in healthy population were considered low. To determine the effect of independent variables on VIP levels, we performed a longitudinal multivariate analysis nested by patient and visit. A multivariate ordered logistic regression was modeled to determine the effect of low VIP serum levels on disease activity at the end of follow-up. VIP concentrations varied considerably across EA patients. Those fulfilling the criteria for RA had the lowest values in the whole sample, although no significant differences were observed compared with healthy donors. Disease activity, which was assessed using DAS28, inversely correlated with VIP levels. After a two-year follow-up, those patients with low baseline levels of VIP displayed higher disease activity and received more intensive treatment. Patients who are unable to up-regulate VIP seem to have a worse clinical course despite receiving more intense treatment. Therefore, measurement of VIP levels may be suitable as a prognostic biomarker.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The key elements of treat-to-target (T2T) are: monitoring disease activity, subsequently adjusting medication in accordance to a fixed protocol, and aiming at a predefined target. In clinical trials it has been demonstrated that a T2T approach is more effective in lowering disease activity and, ultimately, reaching remission than usual care [2-7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Where health economic studies are frequently performed using modelling, with input from randomized controlled trials and best guesses, we used real-life data to analyse the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of a treatment strategy aiming to the target of remission compared to usual care in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We used real-life data from comparable cohorts in the Dutch Rheumatoid Arthritis Monitoring (DREAM) registry: the DREAM remission induction cohort (treat-to-target, T2T) and the Nijmegen early RA inception cohort (usual care, UC). Both cohorts were followed prospectively using the DREAM registry methodology. All patients fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology criteria for RA and were included in the cohort at the time of diagnosis. The T2T cohort was treated according to a protocolised strategy aiming at remission (Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) < 2.6). The UC cohort was treated without DAS28-guided treatment decisions. EuroQol-5D utility scores were estimated from the Health Assessment Questionnaire. A health care perspective was adopted and direct medical costs were collected. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) per patient in remission and incremental cost utility ratio (ICUR) per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained were calculated over two and three years of follow-up. Two year data were available for 261 T2T patients and 213 UC patients; an extended follow-up of three years was available for 127 and 180 patients, respectively. T2T produced higher remission percentages and a larger gain in QALYs than UC. The ICER was [euro sign] 3,591 per patient in remission after two years and T2T was dominant after three years. The ICUR was [euro sign] 19,410 per QALY after two years and T2T was dominant after three years. We can conclude that treating to the target of remission in early RA is cost-effective compared with UC. The data suggest that in the third year, T2T becomes cost-saving.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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    • "All of these remission definitions examine disease activity at a single point in time, making them less useful for long-term follow-up studies [10,11]. Studies evaluating tight control and treat-to-target strategies advocate that remission should be reached as soon as possible and should be maintained during the course of the disease [12,13]. The investigators suggest that remission must be sustained to halt joint damage [12,13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Remission is an important goal of therapy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but data on duration of remission are lacking. Our objective was to describe the duration of remission in RA, assessed by different criteria. We evaluated patients from the Brigham and Women's Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS) not in remission at baseline with at least 2 years of follow-up. Remission was assessed according to the Disease Activity Score 28-C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP4), Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI), and Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) scores, and the recently proposed American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria for remission. Analyses were performed by using Kaplan-Meier survival curves. We identified 871 subjects with ≥2 years of follow-up. Of these subjects, 394 were in remission at one or more time-points and not in remission at baseline, according to at least one of the following criteria: DAS28-CRP < 2.6 (n = 309), DAS28-CRP < 2.3 (n = 275), SDAI (n = 168), CDAI (n = 170), and 2010 ACR/EULAR (n = 158). The median age for the 394 subjects at entrance to BRASS was 56 years; median disease duration was 8 years; 81% were female patients; and 72% were seropositive. Survival analysis performed separately for each remission criterion demonstrated that < 50% of subjects remained in remission 1 year later. Median remission survival time was 1 year. Kaplan-Meier curves of the various remission criteria did not significantly differ (P = 0.29 according to the log-rank test). This study shows that in clinical practice, a minority of RA patients are in sustained remission.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Arthritis research & therapy
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