The Study Group for Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) was established by the EULAR Standing Committee on Investigative Rheumatology to facilitate research into the pre-clinical and earliest clinically apparent phases of RA. Key initial aims were to develop recommendation for  terminologies to be used to define specific phases up to the development of RA;  approaches to dating “onset” in patients with clinically apparent disease;  urgent research priorities.
The Study Group has recommended that, in prospective studies, individuals without RA are described as having: (a) genetic risk factors for RA; (b) environmental risk factors for RA; (c) systemic autoimmunity associated with RA; (d) symptoms without clinical evidence of arthritis; (e) unclassified arthritis; where (a) to (e) may be used in a combinatorial manner. It was recommended that the prefix ‘pre-RA with:’ could be used before any/any combination of (a) to (e) but only to describe retrospectively a phase that an individual had progressed through once it was known that they had developed RA. An approach to quantifying disease duration was recommended which involved providing durations since the onset of symptoms, since onset of joint swelling as well as from the time of fulfilment of classification criteria.
These recommendations should facilitate communication between researchers and comparisons between studies focussed on the earliest phases of RA.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared