The evolution of biomarkers in rheumatoid arthritis: from clinical research to clinical care

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2008 Nov;8(11):1773-85. doi: 10.1517/14712598.8.11.1773.


Background: Treatment efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been measured by clinical response, gross radiological results and some biochemical markers. With the new biologic treatments, markers for disease development, progress, severity and therapy response have evolved.

Objectives: This review focuses on a selection of current markers and the need for better markers for determining RA treatment susceptibility and success.

Methods: A review of the literature was conducted and expert opinions expressed.

Results/conclusion: Current biomarkers mainly focus on disease activity and severity. Biomarkers for treatment response and susceptibility that help clinicians make initial treatment decisions are lacking or insufficient, yet required for optimal control of RA. A combination of biomarkers is necessary to classify a complex immune disease, such as RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Autoantibodies / chemistry
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cartilage / metabolism
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Inflammation
  • Rheumatology / methods
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Genetic Markers