Standardisation of synovial biopsy analyses in rheumatic diseases: a consensus of the EULAR Synovitis and OMERACT Synovial Tissue Biopsy Groups

Arthritis Res Ther. 2018 Dec 3;20(1):265. doi: 10.1186/s13075-018-1762-1.


Background: The aim of this global collaboration was to develop a consensual set of items for the analysis of synovial biopsies in clinical practice and translational research through the EULAR Synovitis Study Group (ESSG) and OMERACT Synovial Tissue Biopsy Group.

Methods: Participants were consulted through a modified Delphi method. Three sequential rounds occurred over 12 months. Members were sent a written questionnaire containing items divided into two parts. Items were identified and formulated based on a scoping review. The first part of the questionnaire referred to synovial biopsies in clinical practice including five subsections, and the second part to translational research with six subsections. Every participant was asked to score each item on a 5-point Likert scale. Items with a median score above 3.5 and a ≥ 70% agreement were selected for the next round. The last round was conducted orally at EULAR in June 2017.

Results: Twenty-seven participants from 19 centers were contacted by email. Twenty participants from 17 centers answered. Response rates for next rounds were 100%. For the first part relating to clinical practice, 20/44 items (45.5%) were selected. For the second part relating to translational research, 18/43 items (41.9%) were selected for the final set.

Conclusions: We herein propose a consensual set of analysis items to be used for synovial biopsies conducted in clinical practice and translational research.

Keywords: Standardisation; Synovial biopsy; Synovial tissue analysis; Synovium.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / methods*
  • Biopsy / standards
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Humans
  • Reference Standards
  • Rheumatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology*
  • Synovitis / pathology*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods