Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis: multivariate analysis of biomarkers

N Wild, L Karl, VP Grunert, RI Schmitt, U Garczarek, F Krause, F Hasler, PL Van Riel, PM Bayer, M Sharif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To test if a combination of biomarkers can increase the classification power of autoantibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) depending on the diagnostic situation. Methods. Biomarkers were subject to three inclusion/exclusion criteria (discrimination between RA patients and healthy blood donors, ability to identify anti-CCP-negative RA patients, specificity in a panel with major non-rheumatological diseases) before univariate ranking and multivariate analysis was carried out using a modelling panel (n=906). To enable the evaluation of the classification power in different diagnostic settings the disease controls (n=542) were weighted according to the admission rates in rheumatology clinics modelling a clinic panel or according to the relative prevalences of musculoskeletal disorders in the general population seen by general practitioners modelling a GP panel. Results. Out of 131 biomarkers considered originally, we evaluated 32 biomarkers in this study, of which only seven passed the three inclusion/exclusion criteria and were combined by multivariate analysis using four different mathematical models. In the modelled clinic panel, anti-CCP was the lead marker with a sensitivity of 75.8% and a specificity of 94.0%. Due to the lack in specificity of the markers other than anti-CCP in this diagnostic setting, any gain in sensitivity by any marker combination is off-set by a corresponding loss in specificity. In the modelled GP panel, the best marker combination of anti-CCP and interleukin (IL)-6 resulted in a sensitivity gain of 7.6% (85.9% vs. 78.3%) at a minor loss in specificity of 1.6% (90.3% vs. 91.9%) compared with anti-CCP as the best single marker. Conclusions. Depending on the composition of the sample panel, anti-CCP alone or anti-CCP in combination with IL-6 has the highest classification power for the diagnosis of established RA. Keywords: Rheumatoid arthritis; diagnosis; anti-CCP; marker combinations; multivariate analysis
Translated title of the contributionDiagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis: multivariate analysis of biomarkers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88 - 105
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


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