Pre-treatment calprotectin (MRP8/14) provides no added value to testing CRP alone in terms of predicting response to TNF inhibitors in rheumatoid arthritis in a post hoc analysis

Ann Rheum Dis. 2023 May;82(5):611-620. doi: 10.1136/ard-2022-222519. Epub 2023 Feb 21.


Objectives: The inflammatory protein calprotectin (MRP8/14) has been identified as a promising biomarker of treatment response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our aim was to test MRP8/14 as a biomarker of response to tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-inhibitors in the largest RA cohort to date and to compare with C-reactive protein (CRP).

Methods: Serum MRP8/14 was measured in 470 patients with RA about to commence treatment with adalimumab (n=196) or etanercept (n=274). Additionally, MRP8/14 was measured in the 3-month sera of 179 adalimumab-treated patients. Response was determined using European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria calculated using the traditional 4-component (4C) DAS28-CRP and alternate validated versions using 3-component (3C) and 2-component (2C), clinical disease activity index (CDAI) improvement criteria and change in individual outcome measures. Logistic/linear regression models were fitted for response outcome.

Results: In the 3C and 2C models, patients with RA were 1.92 (CI: 1.04 to 3.54) and 2.03 (CI: 1.09 to 3.78) times more likely to be classified as EULAR responders if they had high (75th quartile) pre-treatment levels of MRP8/14 compared with low (25th quartile). No significant associations were observed for the 4C model. When only using CRP as a predictor, in the 3C and 2C analyses, patients above the 75th quartile were 3.79 (CI: 1.81 to 7.93) and 3.58 (CI: 1.74 to 7.35) times more likely to be EULAR responders and addition of MRP8/14 did not significantly improve model fit (p values=0.62 and 0.80, respectively). No significant associations were observed in the 4C analysis. Exclusion of CRP from the outcome measure (CDAI) did not result in any significant associations with MRP8/14 (OR 1.00 (CI: 0.99 to 1.01), suggesting that the associations were due to the correlation with CRP and that there is no additional utility of MRP8/14 beyond use of CRP in patients with RA starting TNFi therapy.

Conclusion: Beyond correlation with CRP, we found no evidence to suggest that MRP8/14 explains additional variability in response to TNFi in patients with RA over and above CRP alone.

Keywords: Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Biological Therapy; Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


  • Adalimumab
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Biomarkers
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha