Doppler ultrasound predicts successful discontinuation of biological DMARDs in rheumatoid arthritis patients in clinical remission
Terslev L., Brahe CH., Hetland ML., Georgiadis S., Ellegaard K., Juul L., Huynh T., Døhn UM., Fana V., Møller T., Krabbe S., Ørnbjerg LM., Glinatsi D., Røgind H., Hansen A., Nørregaard J., Jacobsen S., Jensen DV., Manilo N., Asmussen K., Boesen M., Rastiemadabadi Z., Morsel-Carlsen L., Møller JM., Krogh NS., Østergaard M.
Objective: To assess the ability of ultrasound to predict successful tapering and successful discontinuation of biological DMARDs (bDMARDs) at the 2-year follow-up in RA patients in sustained remission. Methods: Patients in sustained remission (DAS28-CRP ≤ 2.6) and with no radiographic progression the previous year tapered bDMARDs according to a standardized regime. A total of 119 of these patients were included in this ultrasound substudy. At baseline, clinical assessment, MRI, X-ray and ultrasound of 24 joints were performed. Ultrasound-detected synovitis was defined and scored 0-3 using the OMERACT scoring system at the joint level for both grey-scale and Doppler activity. Sum scores for each ultrasound modality were calculated for 24 joints at the patient level. The final state of treatment was assessed after 2 years. The predictive value of ultrasound measures for successful tapering and discontinuation at the 2-year follow-up was assessed via logistic regression analyses. Results: Negative IgM-RF [odds ratio (OR) = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.10-0.85; P = 0.024] and lower Doppler sum score of 24 joints (OR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.87; P = 0.014) were independent predictors for successful discontinuation of bDMARDs at the 2-year follow-up. The predictive value of the Doppler sum score was independent of MRI findings. Previous numbers of bDMARDs were predictive of successful tapering (OR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.35, 0.91; P = 0.018), whereas ultrasound was not. Clinical parameters were not predictive of successful tapering/discontinuation. Conclusion: Doppler sum score was an independent predictor for successful discontinuation of bDMARDs at the 2-year follow-up - the odds for achieving successful discontinuation decreased by 56% per one-unit increase in Doppler sum score. Ultrasound could not predict successful tapering.