Objective To identify and validate clinical baseline predictors associated with inadequate response (IR) to methotrexate (MTX) therapy in newly diagnosed patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods In U-Act-Early, 108 disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD)-naive patients with RA were randomised to initiate MTX therapy and treated to target until sustained remission (disease activity score assessing 28 joints (DAS28) <2.6 with four or less swollen joints for ≥24 weeks) was achieved. If no remission, hydroxychloroquine was added to the treatment regimen (ie, ‘MTX+’) and replaced by tocilizumab if the target still was not reached thereafter. Regression analyses were performed to identify clinical predictors for IR, defined as needing addition of a biological DMARD, to ‘MTX+’. Data from the treatment in the Rotterdam Early Arthritis Cohort were used for external validation of the prediction model.
Results Within 1 year, 56/108 (52%) patients in U-Act-Early showed IR to ‘MTX+’. DAS28 (adjusted OR (ORadj) 2.1, 95% CI 1.4 to 3.2), current smoking (ORadj 3.02, 95% CI 1.1 to 8.0) and alcohol consumption (ORadj 0.4, 95% CI 0.1 to 0.9) were identified as baseline predictors. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUROC) of the prediction model was 0.75 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.84); the positive (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were 65% and 80%, respectively. When applying the model to the validation cohort, the AUROC slightly decreased to 0.67 (95% CI 0.55 to 0.79) and the PPV and NPV to 54% and 80%, respectively.
Conclusion Higher DAS28, current smoking and no alcohol consumption are predictive factors for IR to step-up ‘MTX+’ in DMARD-naive patients with new-onset RA.
- rheumatoid arthritis
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