Diagnosis and prognosis of early rheumatoid arthritis, with special emphasis on laboratory analysis

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2006;44(2):138-43. doi: 10.1515/CCLM.2006.026.


Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is mainly based on clinical criteria of symmetric polyarthritis of the hands and feet, with morning stiffness lasting usually more than 1 h. Autoantibodies typical for RA, i.e., rheumatoid factors and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide, and measurements of inflammation add more specific information, especially for early diagnosis, where clinical presentation may be oligosymptomatic involving only a few joints. These laboratory parameters are also relevant for prognosis of disease persistence, functional impairment and radiological progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biological Assay
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Peptides, Cyclic / blood
  • Peptides, Cyclic / immunology
  • Prognosis
  • Rheumatoid Factor / blood
  • Rheumatoid Factor / immunology
  • Software Design


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • cyclic citrullinated peptide
  • Rheumatoid Factor