Ultrasound to identify systemic lupus erythematosus patients with musculoskeletal symptoms who respond best to therapy: the US Evaluation for Musculoskeletal Lupus longitudinal multicentre study.
Author(s) Mahmoud; Zayat, Ahmed S; Yusof, Md Yuzaiful Md; Dutton, Katherine; Teh, Lee Suan; Yee, Chee-Seng; D'Cruz, David; Ng, Nora; Isenberg, David; Ciurtin, Coziana; Conaghan, Philip G; Emery, Paul; Edwards, Christopher J; Hensor, Elizabeth M A; Vital, Edward M
Source Rheumatology; Nov 2021; vol. 60 (no. 11); p. 5194-5204
AbstractObjectives To determine whether SLE patients with inflammatory joint symptoms and US synovitis/tenosyovitis achieve better clinical responses to glucocorticoids compared with patients with normal scans. Secondary objectives included identification of clinical features predicting US synovitis/tenosynovitis. Methods In a longitudinal multicentre study, SLE patients with physician-diagnosed inflammatory joint pain received intramuscular methylprednisolone 120 mg once. Clinical assessments, patient-reported outcomes and bilateral hand/wrist USs were collected at 0, 2 and 6 weeks. The primary outcome (determined via internal pilot) was the early morning stiffness visual analogue scale (EMS-VAS) at 2 weeks, adjusted for baseline, comparing patients with positive (greyscale ≥2 and/or power Doppler ≥1) and negative US. Post hoc analyses excluded FM. Results Of 133 patients, 78 had a positive US. Only 53 (68%) of these had one or more swollen joint. Of 66 patients with one or more swollen joint, 20% had a negative US. A positive US was associated with joint swelling, symmetrical small joint distribution and serology. The primary endpoint was not met: in the full analysis set (N = 133) there was no difference in baseline-adjusted EMS-VAS at week 2 [−7.7 mm (95% CI −19.0, 3.5); P = 0.178]. After excluding 32 patients with FM, response was significantly better in patients with a positive US at baseline [baseline-adjusted EMS-VAS at 2 weeks −12.1 mm (95% CI −22.2, −0.1); P = 0.049]. This difference was greater when adjusted for treatment [−12.8 mm (95% CI −22, −3); P = 0.007]. BILAG and SLEDAI responses were higher in US-positive patients. Conclusion In SLE patients without FM, those with a positive US had a better clinical response to therapy. Imaging-detected synovitis/tenosynovitis may be considered to decide on therapy and enrich clinical trials.
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