Evolution of chronic recurrent multifocal osteitis toward spondylarthropathy over the long term

Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Jan;43(1):109-19. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(200001)43:1<109::AID-ANR14>3.0.CO;2-3.


Objective: To retrospectively assess, with a sufficiently long followup (mean 11.6 years; median 9 years), the long-term outcome of chronic recurrent multifocal osteitis (CRMO), a multifocal, inflammatory bone disease.

Methods: Patients included were 8 children/adolescents and 7 adults with no family history of rheumatic disease who had been diagnosed as having CRMO between 1979 and 1995. Ten patients had undergone at least 1 bone biopsy of the lesions, with histologic examination and multiple cultures. In 1996, in addition to an in-depth interview, 12 patients underwent an extensive physical examination, laboratory evaluation, HLA-A, B, C, and DR typing, bone radiography and scintigraphy, and computed tomography scan of the sternoclavicular and sacroiliac joints.

Results: Remission was observed in 3 patients. The other 12 patients developed various associations of vertebral (n = 10), sacroiliac (n = 6), anterior thoracic (n = 7), peripheral articular (n = 2), enthesopathic (n = 4), or dermatologic (palmoplantar pustulosis in 3 cases and psoriasis in 2) involvements. Spine involvement was the most common and occurred the earliest (median time to appearance after the onset of osteitis 5.63 years). Clinical sacroiliitis was always unilateral. No patients carried the HLA-B27 haplotype. CRMO responded well to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Twelve patients met the European Spondylarthropathy Study Group criteria for spondylarthopathy.

Conclusion: After 10 years, CRMO had usually evolved to spondylarthropathy, but with certain features not usually seen in the latter: predominantly, unilateral sacroiliitis, no familial form, and no link with HLA-B27.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Progression
  • Europe
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteitis / drug therapy
  • Osteitis / pathology*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sacroiliac Joint / pathology*
  • Spondylitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylitis / drug therapy
  • Spondylitis / pathology*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal