Serum calprotectin: a promising biomarker in rheumatoid arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis

Arthritis Res Ther. 2020 May 6;22(1):105. doi: 10.1186/s13075-020-02190-3.

Abstract

Background: Calprotectin (S100A8/S100A9 protein) is known as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) protein and reflects mainly neutrophil activation. Serum calprotectin levels might be a good alternative to acute-phase protein as a biomarker in inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The aim of this study is to investigate the association of serum calprotectin with disease activity and severity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Methods: Serum calprotectin was measured in patients with RA, axSpA, and PsA from the prospective Swiss Clinical Quality Management (SCQM) registry. Asymptomatic first-degree relatives of RA patients were used as healthy controls (HC). Outcomes included swollen joint count (SJC), Disease Activity Score (DAS), Health Assessment questionnaire (HAQ), joint radiographs, and ultrasound power Doppler (USPD) score for RA; Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI), Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) and coxitis for axSpA; and SJC and Disease Activity Index for PSoriatic Arthritis (DAPSA) for PsA. Comparison of outcomes by calprotectin quartile levels was performed using Kruskal-Wallis tests for continuous outcomes or trend tests for categorical outcomes.

Results: A total of 1729 subjects [RA = 969, axSpA = 451, PsA = 237, and HC = 72] were included. Median levels of serum calprotectin were higher in each disease group compared to HC (p < 0.01). In RA patients, all clinical outcomes were statistically different between quartiles of serum calprotectin, indicating an association between calprotectin levels and higher disease activity (SJC, DAS, and USPD scores) and severity (joint radiographs and HAQ). In axSpA, an association between calprotectin levels and ASDAS score (p < 0.01) and prevalence of coxitis (p = 0.02) was observed. For PsA patients, SJC and DAPSA did not differ across calprotectin quartiles.

Conclusions: This large study supports the association of serum calprotectin levels with disease activity in both RA and axSpA, but not in PsA.

Keywords: Axial spondyloarthritis; Biomarker; Psoriatic arthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; S100A8/S100A9; Serum calprotectin.