Objectives: To evaluate the impact of anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) treatment on growth and to identify the predictors for the change in growth in severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
Methods: Data from 71 JIA patients (43 on etanercept, 28 on infliximab) were reviewed two years before and two years on the anti-TNF treatment. The patients had polyarticular disease course (48 polyarthritis, 19 extended oligoarthritis, two systemic arthritis, and two enthesitis related arthritis). At the initiation of the anti-TNF treatment, their mean age was 9.6 years and the mean duration of JIA, 5.7 years.
Results: In the patients with delayed growth before anti-TNF treatment (n = 53), the growth velocity, measured as the change in height standard deviation score, accelerated +0.45 (95% confidence interval, 0.33 to 0.56) (p<0.001) during the anti-TNF treatment. In the patients with normal or accelerated growth before anti-TNF treatment (n = 18), the change in growth velocity was +0.05 (0.07 to 0.16) (p = 0.39). At two years on anti-TNF treatment, the growth velocity between these two groups was similar. No difference was found between the patients treated with etanercept or infliximab. A decelerating growth rate before the anti-TNF treatment was the strongest predictor for the observed increase in the growth velocity. The change in the inflammatory activity remained a significant predictor of the growth velocity even after the decrease in glucocorticoid dose was taken into account.
Conclusions: In the treatment of polyarticular JIA, the anti-TNF treatment not only suppresses inflammation but also restores growth velocity.
- HSDS, height standard deviation score
- ILAR, International League of Associations for Rheumatology
- JIA, juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- TNF, tumour necrosis factor
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- anti-TNF treatment
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Published Online First 31 January 2006
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