Sustained low disease activity measured by ASDAS slow radiographic spinal progression in axial spondyloarthritis patients treated with TNF-inhibitors: data from REGISPONSERBIO

Arthritis Res Ther. 2022 Jan 21;24(1):30. doi: 10.1186/s13075-021-02695-5.


Background: To evaluate the influence of the disease activity on radiographic progression in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) patients treated with TNF inhibitors (TNFi).

Methods: The study included 101 axSpA patients from the Spanish Register of Biological Therapy in Spondyloarthritides (REGISPONSERBIO), which had clinical data and radiographic assessment available. Patients were classified into 2 groups based on the duration of TNFi treatment at baseline: (i) long-term treatment (≥4 years) and (ii) no long-term treatment (< 4 years). Radiographs were scored by two readers according to the modified Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spine Score (mSASSS) with known chronology. Disease activity differences between patients' groups at each time point were assessed using a linear mixed-effect model.

Results: Radiographic progression was defined as an increase in ≥2 mSASSS units. At inclusion, approximately half of the patients (45.5%) were receiving long-term treatment with TNFi (≥4 years). In this group of subjects, a significant difference in averaged Ankylosing Spondylitis disease Activity Score (ASDAS) across follow-up was found between progressors and non-progressors (2.33 vs 1.76, p=0.027, respectively). In patients not under long-term TNFi treatment (54.5%) though, no significant ASDAS differences were observed between progressors and non-progressors until the third year of follow-up. Furthermore, no significant differences were found in progression status, when disease activity was measured by Bath Ankylosing spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and C reactive protein (CRP).

Conclusions: Patients on long-term TNFi treatment with a mean sustained low disease activity measures by ASDAS presented lower radiographic progression than those with active disease.

Keywords: Biological therapies; Inflammation; Outcome measures; Radiology; Spondyloarthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Axial Spondyloarthritis*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylarthritis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylarthritis* / drug therapy
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / drug therapy
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors