[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives To identify predictive parameters for the progression of skin fibrosis within 1 year in patients with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc).
Methods An observational study using the EUSTAR database was performed. Inclusion criteria were dcSSc, American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria fulfilled, modified Rodnan skin score (MRSS) ≥7 at baseline visit, valid data for MRSS at 2nd visit, and available follow-up of 12±2 months. Worsening of skin fibrosis was defined as increase in MRSS >5 points and ≥25% from baseline to 2nd visit. In the univariate analysis, patients with progressive fibrosis were compared with non-progressors, and predictive markers with p<0.2 were included in the logistic regression analysis. The prediction models were then validated in a second cohort.
Results A total of 637 dcSSc patients were eligible. Univariate analyses identified joint synovitis, short disease duration (≤15 months), short disease duration in females/patients without creatine kinase (CK) elevation, low baseline MRSS (≤22/51), and absence of oesophageal symptoms as potential predictors for progressive skin fibrosis. In the multivariate analysis, by employing combinations of the predictors, 17 models with varying prediction success were generated, allowing cohort enrichment from 9.7% progressive patients in the whole cohort to 44.4% in the optimised enrichment cohort. Using a second validation cohort of 188 dcSSc patients, short disease duration, low baseline MRSS and joint synovitis were confirmed as independent predictors of progressive skin fibrosis within 1 year resulting in a 4.5-fold increased prediction success rate.
Conclusions Our study provides novel, evidence-based criteria for the enrichment of dcSSc cohorts with patients who experience worsening of skin fibrosis which allows improved clinical trial design.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives In agreement with other autoimmune diseases, systemic sclerosis (SSc) is associated with a strong sex bias. However, unlike lupus, the effects of sex on disease phenotype and prognosis are poorly known. Therefore, we aimed to determine sex effects on outcomes.
Method We performed a prospective observational study using the latest 2013 data extract from the EULAR scleroderma trials and research (EUSTAR) cohort. We looked at (i) sex influence on disease characteristics at baseline and (ii) then focused on patients with at least 2 years of follow-up to estimate the effects of sex on disease progression and survival.
Results 9182 patients with SSc were available (1321 men) for the baseline analyses. In multivariate analysis, male sex was independently associated with a higher risk of diffuse cutaneous subtype (OR: 1.68, (1.45 to 1.94); p<0.001), a higher frequency of digital ulcers (OR: 1.28 (1.11 to 1.47); p<0.001) and pulmonary hypertension (OR: 3.01 (1.47 to 6.20); p<0.003). In the longitudinal analysis (n=4499), after a mean follow-up of 4.9 (±2.7) years, male sex was predictive of new onset of pulmonary hypertension (HR: 2.66 (1.32 to 5.36); p=0.006) and heart failure (HR: 2.22 (1.06 to 4.63); p=0.035). 908 deaths were recorded, male sex predicted deaths of all origins (HR: 1.48 (1.19 to 1.84); p<0.001), but did not significantly account for SSc-related deaths.
Conclusions Although more common in women, SSc appears as strikingly more severe in men. Our results obtained through the largest worldwide database demonstrate a higher risk of severe cardiovascular involvement in men. These results raise the point of including sex in the management and the decision-making process.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare disease requiring multicentre collaboration to reveal comprehensive details of disease-related causes for morbidity and mortality.
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) group initiated a database to prospectively gather key data of patients with SSc using a minimal essential dataset that was reorganised in 2008 introducing new items. Baseline visit data of patients who were registered between 2004 and 2011 were analysed using descriptive statistics.
In June 2011, 7655 patients (2838 with diffuse cutaneous (dc) and 4481 with limited cutaneous (lc) SSc who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria had been registered in 174 centres, mainly European. The most prominent hallmarks of disease were Raynaud's phenomenon (96.3%), antinuclear antibodies (93.4%) and a typical capillaroscopic pattern (90.9%). Scleroderma was more common on fingers and hands than on any other part of the skin. Proton pump inhibitors (65.2%), calcium channel blockers (52.7%), and corticosteroids (45.3%) were most often prescribed. Among the immunosuppressant agents, cyclophosphamide was used more often in dcSSc than in lcSSc.
The EUSTAR database provides an abundance of information on the true clinical face of SSc that will be helpful in improving the classification of SSc and its subsets and for developing more specific therapeutic recommendations.
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Annals of the rheumatic diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine if mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) can be considered an independent clinical entity, to compare 3 different classification criteria for MCTD (Kasukawa, Alarcón-Segovia, and Sharp), and to define predictors (clinical features and autoantibodies) of potential evolution toward other connective tissue diseases (CTDs).
One hundred sixty-one MCTD patients were evaluated retrospectively at the diagnosis and in 2008. They were classified, at the diagnosis, according to the 3 classification criteria of MCTD (Sharp, Alarcón-Segovia, and Kasukawa) and reclassified in 2008 according to their evolution. Statistical analyses were performed to find out predictors (clinical features and autoantibodies) of evolution into other CTDs.
After a mean of 7.9 years of disease, 57.9% of patients still satisfied MCTD classification criteria of Kasukawa; 17.3% evolved into systemic sclerosis, 9.1% into systemic lupus erythematosus, 2.5% into rheumatoid arthritis, 11.5% was reclassified as affected by undifferentiated connective tissue disease, and 1.7% as suffering from overlap syndrome. Kasukawa's criteria were more sensitive (75%) in comparison to those of Alarcón-Segovia (73%) and Sharp (42%). The presence of anti-DNA antibodies (P = 0.012) was associated with evolution into systemic lupus erythematosus; hypomotility or dilation of esophagus (P < 0.001); and sclerodactyly (P = 0.034) with evolution into systemic sclerosis.
MCTD is a distinct clinical entity but it is evident that a subgroup of patients may evolve into another CTD during disease progression. Initial clinical features and autoantibodies can be useful to predict disease evolution.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the prevalence of and independent factors associated with joint involvement in a large population of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
This study was cross-sectional, based on data collected on patients included in the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) registry. We queried this database to extract data regarding global evaluation of patients with SSc and the presence of any clinical articular involvement: synovitis (tender and swollen joints), tendon friction rubs (rubbing sensation detected as the tendon was moved), and joint contracture (stiffness of the joints that decreased their range of motion). Overall joint involvement was defined by the occurrence of synovitis and/or joint contracture and/or tendon friction rubs.
We recruited 7286 patients with SSc; their mean age was 56 +/- 14 years, disease duration 10 +/- 9 years, and 4210 (58%) had a limited cutaneous disease subset. Frequencies of synovitis, tendon friction rubs, and joint contractures were 16%, 11%, and 31%, respectively. Synovitis, tendon friction rubs, and joint contracture were more prevalent in patients with the diffuse cutaneous subset and were associated together and with severe vascular, muscular, renal, and interstitial lung involvement. Moreover, synovitis had the highest strength of association with elevated acute-phase reactants taken as the dependent variable.
Our results highlight the striking level of articular involvement in SSc, as evaluated by systematic examination in a large cohort of patients with SSc. Our data also show that synovitis, joint contracture, and tendon friction rubs are associated with a more severe disease and with systemic inflammation.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2010 · The Journal of Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In systemic sclerosis (SSc), joint involvement may reduce the functional capacity of the hands. Intravenous immunoglobulins have previously been shown to benefit patients with SSc.
To verify the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulins on joint involvement and function in SSc.
7 women with SSc, 5 with limited and 2 with diffuse SSc, with a severe and refractory joint involvement were enrolled in the study. Methotrexate and cyclophosphamide pulse therapy did not ameliorate joint symptoms. Hence, intravenous immunoglobulins therapy was prescribed at a dosage of 2 g/kg body weight during 4 days/month for six consecutive courses. The presence of joint tenderness and swelling, and articular deformities (due to primary joint involvement and not due to skin and subcutaneous changes) were evaluated. Before and after 6 months of treatment, patients were subjected to (1) Ritchie Index (RI) evaluation of joint involvement; (2) Dreiser Algo-Functional Index (IAFD) evaluation of hand joint function; (3) pain visual analogue scale (VAS) to measure joint pain; (4) Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) to evaluate the limitations in everyday living and physical disability; and (5) modified Rodnan Skin Score for skin involvement.
After 6 months of intravenous immunoglobulins therapy, joint pain and tenderness, measured with the VAS, decreased significantly (p<0.03), and hand function (IAFD) improved significantly (p<0.02), together with the quality of life (HAQ; p<0.03). All patients significantly improved, except for one. The skin score after 6 months of intravenous immunoglobulins therapy was significantly reduced (p<0.003).
This pilot study suggests that intravenous immunoglobulins may reduce joint pain and tenderness, with a significant recovery of joint function in patients with SSc with severe and refractory joint involvement. The cost of intravenous immunoglobulins might limit their use only to patients who failed disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2007 · Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases