Background: In polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM), anti-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (ARS) antibodies are closely associated with interstitial lung disease (ILD), a frequent pulmonary complication. However, the clinical significance of anti-ARS antibodies is not well established.
Objective: We aimed to evaluate the clinical significance of anti-ARS antibodies in PM/DM-ILD patients.
Methods: Forty-eight consecutive PM/DM-ILD patients were studied retrospectively. Anti-ARS antibodies were screened by ELISA and confirmed by RNA immunoprecipitation test. Medical records, high-resolution computed tomography images, and surgical lung biopsy specimens were compared between ARS-positive (ARS group) and ARS-negative patients (non-ARS group).
Results: Anti-ARS antibodies were detected in 23 of 48 patients (48%). Radiologically, nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) pattern was observed more frequently in the ARS group than in the non-ARS group (73.9% vs. 40%, P = 0.02). Pathologically, NSIP was the most frequent in both groups. Ten-year survival rate was also significantly higher in the ARS group than in the non-ARS group (91.6% vs. 58.7%, P = 0.02). Univariate Cox hazards analysis revealed that the presence of anti-ARS antibodies was associated with better prognosis (HR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.08-0.80; P = 0.01).
Conclusions: The presence of anti-ARS antibodies is a possible prognostic marker in patients with PM/DM-ILD.