Objective: To investigate whether short-term changes in serum biomarkers of type II collagen degradation (C2C) and types I and II collagen degradation (C1,2C), as well as the biomarker for the synthesis of type II procollagen (CPII) can predict radiographic progression at 1 year following initiation of biologic therapy in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
Methods: Serum levels of biomarkers were measured at baseline and at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after initiation of biologic therapy. A composite score reflecting changes from baseline in all 3 biomarkers (DeltaCOL) was calculated. Associations with clinical responses according to the 28-joint count Disease Activity Score and with radiographic progression according to the modified Sharp/van der Heijde score (SHS) were assessed.
Results: The 1-year increase in the SHS correlated with the 1-month change in C2C results (r = 0.311, P = 0.028) and the DeltaCOL score (r = 0.342, P = 0.015). Radiographic progression was predicted by increases in serum C2C at 1 month (P = 0.031). The DeltaCOL score was significantly associated with 1-year radiographic progression after 1 (P = 0.022), 3 (P = 0.015), 6 (P = 0.048), and 9 (P = 0.019) months of therapy. Clinical remission was predicted by 1-month decreases in serum levels of C2C (P = 0.008) and C1,2C (P = 0.036). By regression analysis, 1-month changes in C2C, C1,2C, and CPII levels were independently associated with, and correctly predicted radiographic outcome in, 88% of the patients.
Conclusion: Short-term changes in serum levels of collagen biomarkers following initiation of biologic therapy may better predict long-term clinical and radiographic outcomes. These collagen biomarkers may therefore be valuable new early indicators of short-term biologic treatment efficacy in clinical trials and in individual patients with inflammatory erosive arthritis.