Objective Successfully stopping or reducing treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in low disease activity (LDA) may improve cost-effectiveness of care. We evaluated the multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) score as a predictor of disease relapse after discontinuation of TNF inhibitor (TNFi) treatment. Methods 439 RA patients who were randomized to stop TNFi treatment in the POET study were analyzed post-hoc. Three indicators of disease relapse were assessed over 12 months: 1) restarting TNFi treatment, 2) escalation of any DMARD therapy and 3) physician-reported flare. MBDA score was assessed at baseline. Associations between MBDA score and disease relapse were examined using univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression. Results At baseline, 50.1%, 35.3% and 14.6% of patients had low (<30), moderate (30−44) or high (>44) MBDA scores. Within 12 months, 49.9% of patients had restarted TNFi medication, 59.0% had escalation of any DMARD and 57.2% had 1 physician-reported flare. MBDA score was associated with each indicator of relapse. At least one indicator of relapse was observed in 59.5%, 68.4% and 81.3% of patients with low, moderate or high MBDA scores, respectively (P = 0.004). Adjusted for baseline DAS28-ESR, disease duration, BMI and erosions, high MBDA scores were associated with increased risk for restarting TNFi treatment (OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.00–3.40), DMARD escalation (OR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.01–3.94) and physician-reported flare (OR = 2.00, 95% 1.06–3.77). Conclusion For RA patients with stable LDA who stopped TNFi, a high baseline MBDA score was independently predictive of disease relapse within 12 months. The MBDA score may be useful for identifying patients at risk of relapse after TNFi discontinuation.
on behalf of the Dutch National POET Collaboration (2018). Multi-biomarker disease activity score as a predictor of disease relapse in patients with rheumatoid arthritis stopping TNF inhibitor treatment. PLoS ONE, 13(5), [e0192425]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192425