Test-retest precision and longitudinal cartilage thickness loss in the IMI-APPROACH cohort

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2023 Feb;31(2):238-248. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2022.10.015. Epub 2022 Nov 3.


Objective: To investigate the test-retest precision and to report the longitudinal change in cartilage thickness, the percentage of knees with progression and the predictive value of the machine-learning-estimated structural progression score (s-score) for cartilage thickness loss in the IMI-APPROACH cohort - an exploratory, 5-center, 2-year prospective follow-up cohort.

Design: Quantitative cartilage morphology at baseline and at least one follow-up visit was available for 270 of the 297 IMI-APPROACH participants (78% females, age: 66.4 ± 7.1 years, body mass index (BMI): 28.1 ± 5.3 kg/m2, 55% with radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA)) from 1.5T or 3T MRI. Test-retest precision (root mean square coefficient of variation) was assessed from 34 participants. To define progressor knees, smallest detectable change (SDC) thresholds were computed from 11 participants with longitudinal test-retest scans. Binary logistic regression was used to evaluate the odds of progression in femorotibial cartilage thickness (threshold: -211 μm) for the quartile with the highest vs the quartile with the lowest s-scores.

Results: The test-retest precision was 69 μm for the entire femorotibial joint. Over 24 months, mean cartilage thickness loss in the entire femorotibial joint reached -174 μm (95% CI: [-207, -141] μm, 32.7% with progression). The s-score was not associated with 24-month progression rates by MRI (OR: 1.30, 95% CI: [0.52, 3.28]).

Conclusion: IMI-APPROACH successfully enrolled participants with substantial cartilage thickness loss, although the machine-learning-estimated s-score was not observed to be predictive of cartilage thickness loss. IMI-APPROACH data will be used in subsequent analyses to evaluate the impact of clinical, imaging, biomechanical and biochemical biomarkers on cartilage thickness loss and to refine the machine-learning-based s-score.

Gov identification: NCT03883568.

Keywords: Cartilage loss; Knee; MRI; Osteoarthritis; Progression; Test–retest precision.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cartilage, Articular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / diagnostic imaging
  • Prospective Studies

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03883568