Objectives To determine whether whole-body MRI defines clinically relevant subgroups within polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) including glucocorticoid responsiveness.
Methods 22 patients with PMR and 16 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), untreated and diagnosed by consultant rheumatologists, underwent whole-body, multiple-joint MRI, scored by two experts. Patients with PMR reported whether they felt ‘back to normal’ on glucocorticoid therapy and were followed for a median of 2 years.
Results All patients with PMR were deemed to respond to glucocorticoids clinically. A characteristic pattern of symmetrical, extracapsular inflammation, adjacent to greater trochanter, acetabulum, ischial tuberosity and/or symphysis pubis, was observed in 14/22 of the PMR cases. In PMR, this pattern was associated with complete glucocorticoid response (p=0.01), higher pretreatment C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum interleukin-6 (IL-6), and better post-treatment fatigue and function. Only 1/14 in the extracapsular group could stop glucocorticoids within 1 year, compared with 4/7 of the others. A score derived from the five sites discriminating best between PMR and RA correlated with IL-6 (p<0.002). IL-6 levels ≥16.8 pg/mL had 86% sensitivity and 86% specificity for the extracapsular MRI pattern.
Conclusions A subset of patients with rheumatologist-diagnosed PMR had a characteristic, extracapsular pattern of MRI inflammation, associated with elevated IL-6/CRP and with complete patient-reported glucocorticoid responsiveness.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Statistics from Altmetric.com
This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.
- Data supplement 1 - Online supplement
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.