Table 1 Primary outcomes during 4 years follow-up
Sequential monotherapy (group1)Step-up combination therapy (group 2)Initial combination with prednisone (group 3)Initial combination with infliximab (group 4)p Value
Mean (SD) improvement in health assessment questionnaire compared with baseline
    3 Years0.8 (0.7)0.7 (0.7)0.8 (0.8)0.9 (0.7)0.66
    4 Years0.8 (0.6)0.7 (0.8)0.8 (0.8)0.8 (0.8)0.64
Progression of Sharp/van der Heijde score from baseline to 4 years follow-up
Total score
    Mean (SD)11.7 (17.3)9.7 (12.8)6.7 (9.6)5.4 (9.2)
    Median (IQR)5.0 (1.0–15.8)5.5 (1.0–13.8)3.0 (1.0–7.5)2.5 (0.5–6.5)0.005†
Erosion score
    Mean (SD)6.0 (8.8)5.7 (6.8)3.0 (4.1)3.0 (5.2)
    Median (IQR)3.0 (0.5–8.5)3.5 (0.5–10.0)2.0 (0.5–3.5)1.5 (0.5–4.0)0.001*
Narrowing score
    Mean (SD)5.7 (10.0)4.0 (7.0)3.7 (6.7)2.4 (4.6)
    Median (IQR)1.8 (0.0–7.0)1.0 (0.0–4.5)1.0 (0.0–3.9)1.0 (0.0–2.5)0.17
  • *p<0.05 for all comparisons of groups 1 and 2 versus groups 3 and 4; †group 1 versus group 2, p = 0.77; group 1 versus group 3, p = 0.06; group 1 versus group 4, p = 0.002; group 2 versus group 3, p = 0.10; group 2 versus group 4, p = 0.005; group 3 versus group 4, p = 0.18. IQR, interquartile range.