Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the clinical value of absolute eosinophil count, serum IgE, ESR and CRP as longitudinal biomarkers of disease activity and predictors of relapse in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss, EGPA).
Methods: Patients were selected from an observational EGPA cohort. Absolute eosinophil count, IgE, ESR and CRP were measured quarterly. Disease activity was defined by validated assessment tools. The association of tests with disease activity was assessed via regression models, adjusting for repeated measures and treatment status. Survival analysis was used to determine if laboratory tests were predictive of the 3 month future flare risk.
Results: Seventy-four per cent of 892 study visits in 141 patients occurred while patients were on treatment, mostly during remission or mild disease activity, defined as a BVAS for Wegener's granulomatosis (BVAS/WG) of 1 or 2. Correlations between absolute eosinophil count, IgE, ESR and CRP were mostly low or non-significant (r = -0.08 to 0.44). There were few weak associations with disease activity [absolute eosinophil count: OR) 1.01/100 U (95% CI 1.01, 1.02); ESR: OR 1.15/10 mg/l increase (95% CI 1.04, 1.27)]. When BVAS/WG ≥1 defined active disease, the absolute eosinophil count [hazard ratio (HR) 1.01/100 U (95% CI 1.01, 1.02)] was weakly predictive of flare. When BVAS/WG ≥3 defined active disease, ESR was weakly predictive of flare [HR 1.52/10 mm/h increase (95% CI 1.17, 1.67)].
Conclusion: The absolute eosinophil count, IgE, ESR and CRP have limitations as longitudinal biomarkers of disease activity or predictors of flare in EGPA. These findings suggest that novel biomarkers of disease activity for EGPA are needed.
Keywords: Churg–Strauss syndrome; biomarker; eosinophil; eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis; vasculitis.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.