, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 2217-2224
Date: 25 Apr 2009

Longitudinal changes in rheumatoid arthritis after rituximab administration assessed by quantitative and dynamic contrast-enhanced 3-T MR imaging: preliminary findings

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We retrospectively assessed the longitudinal changes of rheumatoid arthritis under rituximab therapy by use of quantitative and dynamic contrast-enhanced 3-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the metacarpophalangeal joints of 10 patients at baseline and 26 weeks (n = 10). Additional studies were available at 12 weeks (n = 9) and at 52 weeks (n = 5). Clinical activity was assessed by use of the 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28). MR imaging was used to assess volumes of synovial enhancement, osseous enhancement, and erosions and early rapid enhancement. DAS28 and serum C-reactive protein trended down over time and were significantly lower at 26 weeks. Volume of synovial enhancement and early rapid enhancement showed a significant minimum at 26 weeks and increased thereafter. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate paralleled these two trends. Osseous enhancement did not significantly change over time. Erosions showed a significant progression. Trends of DAS28 and erosions were significantly different (P = 0.0075). In conclusion, our preliminary results suggest that rituximab is associated with a decrease of the inflammatory activity of synovitis with a minimum at 26 weeks and increasing activity thereafter suggesting recurrence. Our results further suggest subclinical progression of erosions with an inverse relationship to decreasing disease activity scores. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.