Adding ultrasound to treat-to-target shows no benefit in achieving clinical remission nor in slowing radiographic progression in rheumatoid arthritis: results from a multicenter prospective cohort Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To assess whether using ultrasound (US) in addition to clinical information versus only clinical information in a treat-to-target (T2T) strategy leads to more clinical remission and to less radiographic progression in RA. METHODS: Patients with RA from the 2-year prospective BIODAM cohort were included. Clinical and US data (US7-score) were collected every 3 months and hands and feet radiographs every 6 months. At each visit, it was decided whether patients were treated according to the clinical definition of T2T with DAS44 remission as benchmark (T2T-DAS44). T2T-DAS44 was correctly applied if: (i) DAS44 remission had been achieved or (ii) if not, treatment was intensified. A T2T strategy also considering US data (T2T-DAS44-US) was correctly applied if: (i) both DAS44 and US remission (synovitis-score < 2, Doppler-score = 0) were present; or (ii) if not, treatment was intensified. The effect of T2T-DAS44-US on attaining clinical remission and on change in Sharp-van der Heijde score compared to T2T-DAS44 was analysed. RESULTS: A total of 1016 visits of 128 patients were included. T2T-DAS44 was correctly followed in 24% of visits and T2T-DAS44-US in 41%. DAS44 < 1.6 was achieved in 39% of visits. Compared to T2T-DAS44, using the T2T-DAS44-US strategy resulted in a 41% lower likelihood of DAS44 remission [OR (95% CI): 0.59 (0.40;0.87)] and had no effect on radiographic progression [β(95% CI): 0.11 (- 0.16;0.39)] assessed at various intervals up to 12 months later. CONCLUSION: Our results do not suggest a benefit of using the US7-score in addition to clinical information as a T2T benchmark compared to clinical information alone. Key Points • Ultrasound has a valuable role in diagnostic evaluation of rheumatoid arthritis, but it is unclear whether adding ultrasound to the clinical assessment in a treat-to-target (T2T) strategy leads to more patients achieving remission and reduction in radiographic progression. • Our data from a real-world study demonstrated that adding information from ultrasound to the clinical assessment in a T2T strategy led to a lower rather than a higher likelihood of obtaining clinical remission as compared to using only clinical assessment. • Our data demonstrated that adding ultrasound data to a T2T strategy based only on clinical assessment did not offer additional protection against radiographic progression in patients with RA. • Adding US to a T2T strategy based on clinical assessment led to far more treatment intensifications (with consequences for costs and exposure to adverse events) without yielding a meaningful clinical benefit.


  • Sepriano, Alexandre
  • Ramiro, Sofia
  • Landewé, Robert
  • van der Heijde, Désirée
  • Ohrndorf, Sarah
  • FitzGerald, Olivier
  • Backhaus, Marina
  • Larche, Margaret
  • Homik, Joanne
  • Saraux, Alain
  • Hammer, Hilde B
  • Terslev, Lene
  • Østergaard, Mikkel
  • Burmester, Gerd
  • Combe, Bernard
  • Dougados, Maxime
  • Hitchon, Carol
  • Boire, Gilles
  • Lambert, Robert G
  • Dadashova, Rana
  • Paschke, Joel
  • Hutchings, Edna J
  • Maksymowych, Walter P

publication date

  • June 2024