Introduction: Evidence suggests that citrullinated fibrin(ogen) may be a potential in vivo target of anticitrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We compared the diagnostic yield of three enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests by using chimeric fibrin/filaggrin citrullinated synthetic peptides (CFFCP1, CFFCP2, CFFCP3) with a commercial CCP2-based test in RA and analyzed their prognostic values in early RA.
Methods: Samples from 307 blood donors and patients with RA (322), psoriatic arthritis (133), systemic lupus erythematosus (119), and hepatitis C infection (84) were assayed by using CFFCP- and CCP2-based tests. Autoantibodies also were analyzed at baseline and during a 2-year follow-up in 98 early RA patients to determine their prognostic value.
Results: With cutoffs giving 98% specificity for RA versus blood donors, the sensitivity was 72.1% for CFFCP1, 78.0% for CFFCP2, 71.4% for CFFCP3, and 73.9% for CCP2, with positive predictive values greater than 97% in all cases. CFFCP sensitivity in RA increased to 80.4% without losing specificity when positivity was considered as any positive anti-CFFCP status. Specificity of the three CFFCP tests versus other rheumatic populations was high (> 90%) and similar to those for the CCP2. In early RA, CFFCP1 best identified patients with a poor radiographic outcome. Radiographic progression was faster in the small subgroup of CCP2-negative and CFFCP1-positive patients than in those negative for both autoantibodies. CFFCP antibodies decreased after 1 year, but without any correlation with changes in disease activity.
Conclusions: CFFCP-based assays are highly sensitive and specific for RA. Early RA patients with anti-CFFCP1 antibodies, including CCP2-negative patients, show greater radiographic progression.