Hepatic steatosis, carotid plaques and achieving MDA in psoriatic arthritis patients starting TNF-α blockers treatment: a prospective study

Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Oct 4;14(5):R211. doi: 10.1186/ar4049.


Introduction: We prospectively evaluated whether hepatic steatosis (HS) and the presence of carotid plaques (CPs) impacts on achieving minimal disease activity (MDA) in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients starting tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α blockers treatment.

Methods: Before starting treatment with TNF-α blockers, consecutive PsA subjects with an active disease were evaluated for the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), HS and CPs. The incidence of MDA was evaluated 12 and 24 months later.

Results: Among 270 PsA subjects, 91 (33.7%) exhibited the MetS, 58 (21.5%) CPs and 76 (28.1%) HS. At the 12-month follow-up, 98 (36.3%) individuals achieved MDA. Compared with those who did, a higher prevalence of the MetS, HS and CPs was found in subjects who did not achieve the MDA (P always < 0.001). After adjusting for the MetS and for all the other demographic/clinical characteristics analyzed, the presence of HS and CPs at baseline independently predicted the risk of not achieving MDA (Hazard Ratio: 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04 to 3.38, P = 0.035 and Hazard Ratio: 3.21, 95%CI: 1.64 to 6.29, P = 0.001, respectively). Separate Kaplan-Meier survival models confirmed this (Log-Rank: 12.894, P < 0.001 and Log-Rank: 12.849, P < 0.001, respectively). Compared with those without, progressively increasing Hazard Ratios of not achieving MDA were found in those with HS, CPs or HS + CPs at baseline. Moreover, the presence of HS and/or CPs predicted the risk of relapse during the additional 12-month follow-up (Hazard Ratio: 2.85, 95%CI: 1.27 to 6.37, P = 0.011 and Hazard Ratio: 3.17, 95%CI: 1.57 to 6.41, P = 0.001 respectively).

Conclusions: HS and/or CPs at baseline are negative predictors of achieving and maintaining MDA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / drug therapy*
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications*
  • Fatty Liver / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha