Clinical approaches to early inflammatory arthritis.

Nature reviews. Rheumatology

PubMedID: 19786990

van Schaardenburg D, Dijkmans BA. Clinical approaches to early inflammatory arthritis. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2009;5(11):627-33.
Several advances have been made in the understanding of the pathogenesis, as well as in the clinical evaluation and treatment, of early inflammatory arthritis. The presence of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) has emerged as a major new biomarker for use in clinical practice. The presence of ACPAs can be used to divide patients with early arthritis into subsets that are phenotypically similar but have varying pathogenetic and prognostic features. Although the detection of ACPAs is a major development in the diagnosis and prognosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), prediction of the outcome of arthritis at the individual level can still be much improved. For patients diagnosed with RA, and who have active polyarthritis, treatment is not dependent on the assessment of prognostic factors, as these patients are best treated with combination therapy; over 40% of these patients achieve remission with such treatment. In patients who present with oligoarthritis, however, management should be based on the assessment of prognostic factors. The success of early treatment of inflammatory arthritis and the recognition of a measurable preclinical phase of RA offer hope that treating the disease before it becomes clinically active might be possible.