Objective In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), MRI provides earlier detection of structural damage than radiography (X-ray) and more sensitive detection of intra-articular inflammation than clinical examination. This analysis was designed to evaluate the ability of early MRI findings to predict subsequent structural damage by X-ray.
Methods Pooled data from four randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving 1022 RA hands and wrists in early and established RA were analysed. X-rays were scored using van der Heijde-modified or Genant-modified Sharp methods. MRIs were scored using Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) RA MRI Score (RAMRIS). Data were analysed at the patient level using multivariable logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses.
Results Progression of MRI erosion scores at Weeks 12 and 24 predicted progression of X-ray erosions at Weeks 24 and 52, with areas under the curve (AUCs) of 0.64 and 0.74, respectively. 12-week and 24-week changes in MRI osteitis scores were similarly predictive of 24-week and 52-week X-ray erosion progressions; pooled AUCs were 0.78 and 0.77, respectively. MRI changes in synovitis at Weeks 12 and 24 also predicted progression of X-ray joint damage (erosion and joint-space narrowing) at Weeks 24 and 52 (AUCs=0.72 and 0.65, respectively).
Conclusions Early changes in joint damage and inflammation detected with MRI predict changes in joint damage evident on subsequent X-rays. These findings support the use of MRI as a valid method for monitoring structural damage in short-duration RCTs.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Outcomes research
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