Postpublication validation of the 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis: where do we stand?

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2013 Mar;25(2):157-63. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e32835cfc41.


Purpose of review: To summarise the results of the validation studies testing the 2010 American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to date and highlight the areas for future research.

Recent findings: The 2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for RA were developed aiming to identify patients early in the natural history of the disease. Validation studies conducted since their publication have demonstrated that, compared with the 1987 ACR criteria for RA, the 2010 criteria identify more patients earlier in the disease course. Sensitivity for the initiation of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and persistent disease is increased, with decreased specificity. Patients who are seronegative may not satisfy the 2010 criteria despite meeting the 1987 criteria at presentation. The 2010 criteria may also incorrectly classify some patients with self-limiting disease as RA.

Summary: The 2010 criteria appear to be superior to the 1987 criteria in terms of identifying individuals with early RA. Their validity in established disease and their ability to predict worse prognosis in the long term have yet to be determined.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / classification*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Rheumatology
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States


  • Antirheumatic Agents