Repair of joint damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis does not relate to previous suppression of inflammation: a subanalysis after 8 years treat-to-target in the BeSt-trial

Joy Ardjuna van der Pol*, G. lşah Akdemir, Marianne van den Broek, Linda Dirven, Pit J. S. M. Kerstens, Willem F. Lems, Iris M. Markusse, Tom W. J. Huizinga, Cornelia F. Allaart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives To investigate whether repair of erosions and joint space narrowing (JSN) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs and whether clinical variables predict this. Methods Eight-year follow-up data of the BeSt-study were used. Patients with recent onset RA (1987 criteria) were randomised to four treatment strategies and treated-to-target (Disease Activity Score (DAS)≤2.4). Yearly radiographs of hands and feet were scored in non-chronological order by four independent readers, using the Sharp/van der Heijde score (SHS). Damage repair was defined as a negative ΔSHS in an individual joint, seen by ≥3 out of 4 readers and persisting ≥2 consecutive years. Associations between repair and DAS, prednisone use, infliximab use, anticitrullinated protein antibody, gender, age, body mass index, symptom duration and randomisation arm were investigated with logistic regression analyses, corrected for mean SHS. Results Repair was seen in 17 patients (5.3%); 10 had regression of JSN, 7 of erosions, none had both. There were no significant associations in any of the regression analyses. Conclusion After 8 years of treatment to target DAS≤2.4 in 508 patients with recent onset RA, repair of JSN and erosions was seen in 17/320 patients (5.3%). Probably due to the rarity of repair, we found no associations with suppression of disease activity or other predictors and repair.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002995
JournalRMD Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023

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