Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Radiographic progression in patients with ankylosing spondylitis after 2 years of treatment with the tumour necrosis factor α antibody infliximab
  1. X Baraliakos1,
  2. J Listing2,
  3. M Rudwaleit3,
  4. J Brandt1,
  5. J Sieper3,
  6. J Braun1
  1. 1Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Herne, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
  2. 2German Rheumatism Research Centre, Berlin, Germany
  3. 3Rheumatology, Charité Medical School, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor J Braun
    Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Landgrafenstr15, 44652 Herne, Germany;


Background: Anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) treatment is clinically efficacious in patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and leads to improvement of spinal inflammation, as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. It is unclear whether anti-TNF treatment affects chronic spinal changes in AS.

Objectives: To analyse the effect of infliximab on the radiographic course of AS over 2 years.

Methods: Complete sets of lateral radiographs of the cervical spine and lumbar spine were available from 82 patients from two sources: 41 patients (group 1) had been treated with infliximab (5 mg/kg/6 weeks) as part of a recent randomised controlled trial and 41 patients (group 2) were part of the early German AS cohort (GESPIC), without controlled interventions. Radiographs were obtained at baseline and after 2 years and scored by the modified Stokes AS Spinal Score (mSASSS).

Results: Patients in the infliximab group were older, had a longer disease duration, and more radiographic damage at baseline. The mean (SD) mSASSS change was 0.4 (2.7) and 0.7 (2.8) for groups 1 and 2, respectively (p = NS). Radiographic damage at baseline was a predictor for more radiographic progression. Patients with baseline damage who were treated with infliximab showed a trend for less radiographic progression. No correlations between clinical parameters and radiographic progression were found.

Conclusions: Patients with AS treated with infliximab had less radiographic progression after 2 years. Patients with prevalent radiographic damage are prone to develop more damage over time. Infliximab may decelerate radiographic progression in such patients. Larger studies are needed to prove that anti-TNF treatment inhibits structural damage.

  • AS, ankylosing spondylitis
  • BASDAI, Bath AS Disease Activity Score
  • BASMI, Bath AS Metrology Index
  • CS, cervical spine
  • LS, lumbar spine
  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging
  • mSASSS, modified Stokes AS Spinal Score
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial
  • TNF, tumour necrosis factor
  • TS, thoracic spine
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • infliximab
  • x ray examinations
  • chronic spinal changes
  • mSASSS

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Published Online First 18 March 2005