Greater remission rates in patients with early versus long-standing disease in biologic-naive rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with abatacept: a post hoc analysis of randomized clinical trial data

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2011 May-Jun;29(3):494-9. Epub 2011 Jun 29.


Objectives: Current aim of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment is to achieve remission in as many patients as possible. Rates of remission and clinical outcomes after treatment with abatacept in biologic-naive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with early disease and an inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX) versus patients with ≥ 10 years of disease were assessed.

Methods: Data from two trials assessing the efficacy of abatacept in MTX inadequate responders were pooled for this exploratory post hoc analysis. Patients with disease duration of ≤ 2 years at baseline (early disease), originally assigned to an abatacept approximately 10 mg/kg treatment arm and entered into a long-term extension (LTE), were compared with patients with ≥ 10 years of disease (long-standing RA). Remission, DAS28-CRP, ACR 70 responses and the Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data 3 (RAPID3), improvement in physical function as measured by the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI).

Results: Twenty-three percent of these patients (n=108) had early disease. A higher percentage of patients with early disease achieved DAS28-CRP remission versus patients with long-standing disease (35.2% vs. 19.4% at year 1, p<0.01; 46.0% vs. 30.9% at year 3, p<0.05). In addition, a higher percentage of the subgroup with early RA achieved ACR70 responses. More patients with early RA had a meaningful improvement in their HAQ-DI (75.2% vs. 60.4%; p<0.05) and RAPID3 scores at one year (mean changes from baseline of -9.6 vs. -8.1; p=0.009).

Conclusions: These data provide additional support for the possible use of abatacept in biologic-naive patients who have had inadequate response to MTX, earlier in their disease course.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission Induction
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Abatacept
  • Methotrexate