Low serum level of COMP, a cartilage turnover marker, predicts rapid and high ACR70 response to adalimumab therapy in rheumatoid arthritis
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The aim of this study was to evaluate serum biomarkers, used in clinical routine, to predict the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) response to long-term anti-TNF alpha treatment (adalimumab). Sera from 29 consecutive rheumatoid arthritis patients were analysed for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP), cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and IgM and IgA RFs (class-specific rheumatoid factors) at the start of treatment with adalimumab and after 3, 6 and 12 months. The response to the therapy was evaluated by ACR 20, 50, 70 and by DAS 28 scores. The mean serum COMP level of the population did not change after treatment. However, patients with low serum COMP levels (<10 U/l) at baseline showed a significant (p < 0.02) higher ACR70 response (>50%) within 3 months, and also at 6 months, than patients with higher COMP values (ACR70 < 20%). This was also reflected by significantly higher decrease in DAS score at 3 (p < 0.02) and 6 months (p < 0.01) treatments. The IgM RF titre decreased significantly (p = 0.02) after the therapy, but the percentage of serum positivity for anti-CCP and IgA/IgM RF did not change. No significant correlation was shown between serum COMP levels and C-reactive protein/erythrocyte sedimentation rate during the follow-up. Neither were any correlations shown between ACR/DAS 28 scores and anti-CCP, Ig M/IgA RFs. Our data indicate that low (<10 U/l) serum COMP before starting anti-TNF alpha treatment predicts a rapid (within 3 months) and high ACR70 response compared to RA patients with higher COMP values. This might reflect different mechanisms in the cartilage process in the RA disease at that time of treatment with different therapeutic sensitivity to anti-TNF alpha treatment.