Objective To identify predictive factors for total knee replacement (TKR) using data from MRI of knee osteoarthritis patients in a phase III multicentre disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) study.
Methods Knee osteoarthritis patients from a 2-year clinical trial evaluating licofelone versus naproxen were investigated for the incidence of TKR of the study knee. Patients (n=161) who completed the study according to protocol were selected. Incidence of TKR was assessed blindly to the treatment following telephone interviews (n=123).
Results 18 TKR (14.6%) were performed in 4–7 years following enrolment in the original study. More TKR were performed within the naproxen than the licofelone group (61% vs 39%, p=0.232). Baseline score of bone marrow lesions (BML) in the medial compartment (p=0.0001), medial joint space width (JSW) as assessed by standardised radiographs (p=0.0008), presence of severe medial meniscal tear (p=0.004), medial meniscal extrusion (p=0.013), and C-reactive protein level (p=0.049) were strong predictors of TKR. Changes at the end of the study also yielded strong predictors: change in cartilage volume of the medial compartment (p=0.005) and of the global knee (p=0.034), reduction in the JSW of greater than 7% (p=0.009), and WOMAC pain (p=0.009) and function (p=0.023) scores. Multivariate analysis showed that baseline severe medial meniscal tear (p=0.023) and presence of medial BML (p=0.025) were the strongest independent long-term predictors of TKR.
Conclusion This study shows that in the context of osteoarthritis trials, clinical data and structural changes identified by MRI allow prediction of a ‘hard’ outcome such as TKR. The findings support the usefulness and predictive value of MRI in defining study outcome in DMOAD trials.
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