Antibody predictors of mortality and lung function trends in myositis spectrum interstitial lung disease

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2023 Dec 1:kead638. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead638. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: The impact of autoantibody profiles on prognosis of idiopathic inflammatory myositis associated interstitial lung disease (IIM-ILD) and myositis spectrum ILD with Myositis Specific Antibodies (MSA) remains unclear. This retrospective cohort study examines whether serological profiles are associated with mortality and longitudinal lung function change.

Methods: Baseline clinical/demographic characteristics and follow-up lung function of consecutive adult patients with IIM-ILD or Interstitial Pneumonia with Autoimmune Features (IPAF) positive for MSAs were extracted from three hospitals. Univariate and multi-variate Cox-Proportional Hazards analyses were used to compare mortality between autoantibodies. Regression models were used to analyse lung function trends.

Results: Of 430 included patients, 81% met IIM criteria, 19% were IPAF-MSA. On univariate analysis, risk factors associated with mortality included higher age, Charlson Co-morbidity Index and CRP; and lower BMI, baseline TLCO% and FEV1%. Compared to anti-MDA5-negativity, anti-MDA5-positivity (MDA5+) was associated with high mortality in the first 3 months (HR 65.2. 95%CI 14.1, 302.0), while no significant difference was seen thereafter (HR 0.55, 95%CI 0.14, 2.28). On multi-variate analysis, combined anti-synthetase antibodies carried a reduced risk of mortality (HR 0.63), although individually, mortality was reduced in anti-Jo1 + (HR 0.61, 95%CI 0.4-0.87) and increased in anti-PL7+ patients (HR 2.07, 95%CI 1.44-2.99). Anti-MDA5+ was associated with slow improvement in %FVC over the first 3 years, while anti-PL7+ was linked with a slow decline from 12 months onwards.

Conclusions: Among autoantibody profiles in myositis spectrum disorders, anti-MDA5+ and anti-PL7+ confer higher mortality risks. Survivors of an early peak of mortality in anti-MDA5+ disease appear to have a favourable prognosis.

Keywords: autoantibodies; idiopathic inflammatory myopathies; interstitial lung disease; mortality; myositis; progression.