Spinal Radiographic Progression in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis Treated with TNF-α Blocking Therapy: A Prospective Longitudinal Observational Cohort Study

Maas, F., Spoorenberg, A., Brouwer, E., Bos, R., Efde, M., Chaudhry, R. N., Veeger, N. J. G. M., van Ooijen, P. M. A., Wolf, R., Bootsma, H., van der Veer, E. & Arends, S., 16-Apr-2015, In : PLoS ONE. 10, 4, 13 p., e0122693.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate spinal radiographic damage over time and to explore the associations of radiographic progression with patient characteristics and clinical assessments including disease activity in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) blocking therapy in daily clinical practice.

METHODS: Consecutive outpatients from the Groningen Leeuwarden AS (GLAS) cohort were included based on the availability of cervical and lumbar radiographs before start of TNF-α blocking therapy and after 2, 4, and/or 6 years of follow-up. Clinical data were assessed at the same time points. Radiographs were scored by two independent readers using the modified Stoke AS Spine Score (mSASSS). Spinal radiographic progression in relation to clinical assessments was analyzed using generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS: 176 AS patients were included, 58% had syndesmophytes at baseline. Median mSASSS increased significantly from 10.7 (IQR: 4.6-24.0) at baseline to 14.8 (IQR: 7.9-32.8) at 6 years. At the group level, spinal radiographic progression was linear with a mean progression rate of 1.3 mSASSS units per 2 years. Both spinal radiographic damage at baseline and radiographic progression were highly variable between AS patients. Male gender, older age, longer disease duration, higher BMI, longer smoking duration, high CRP, and high ASDAS were significantly associated with syndesmophytes at baseline. Significantly more radiographic progression was seen in patients with versus without syndesmophytes (2.0 vs. 0.5 mSASSS units per 2 years) and in patients >40 versus ≤40 years of age (1.8 vs. 0.7 mSASSS units per 2 years). No longitudinal associations between radiographic progression and clinical assessments were found.

CONCLUSIONS: This prospective longitudinal observational cohort study in daily clinical practice shows overall slow and linear spinal radiographic progression in AS patients treated with TNF-α blocking therapy. At the individual level, progression was highly variable. Patients with syndesmophytes at baseline showed a 4-fold higher radiographic progression rate than patients without syndesmophytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0122693
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16-Apr-2015



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