Biomarkers for interstitial lung disease and acute-onset diffuse interstitial lung disease in rheumatoid arthritis

Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2021 Jun 18:13:1759720X211022506. doi: 10.1177/1759720X211022506. eCollection 2021.


Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is frequently a complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as an extra-articular manifestation which has a poor prognosis. Acute-onset diffuse ILD (AoDILD) occasionally occurs in RA and includes acute exacerbation of ILD, drug-induced ILD, and Pneumocystis pneumonia. AoDILD also confers a poor prognosis in RA. Previously-established biomarkers for ILD include Krebs von den lungen-6 and surfactant protein-D originally defined in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; the sensitivity of these markers for RA-associated ILD (RA-ILD) is low. Although many studies on ILD markers have been performed in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, only a few validation studies in RA-ILD or AoDILD have been reported. Biomarkers for RA-ILD and AoDILD are thus still required. Recently, genomic, cytokine, antibody, and metabolomic profiles of RA-ILD or AoDILD have been investigated with the aim of improving biomarkers. In this review, we summarize current preliminary data on these potential biomarkers for RA-ILD or AoDILD. The development of biomarkers on RA-ILD has only just begun. When validated, such candidate biomarkers will provide valuable information on pathogenesis, prognosis, and drug responses in RA-ILD in future.

Keywords: acute-onset diffuse; biomarker; interstitial lung disease; rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review