Design of ANCHOR-RA: a multi-national cross-sectional study on screening for interstitial lung disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

BMC Rheumatol. 2024 May 21;8(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s41927-024-00389-4.


Background: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at risk of developing interstitial lung disease (ILD), which is associated with high mortality. Screening tools based on risk factors are needed to decide which patients with RA should be screened for ILD using high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT). The ANCHOR-RA study is a multi-national cross-sectional study that will develop a multivariable model for prediction of RA-ILD, which can be used to inform screening for RA-ILD in clinical practice.

Methods: Investigators will enrol consecutive patients with RA who have ≥ 2 of the following risk factors for RA-ILD: male; current or previous smoker; age ≥ 60 years at RA diagnosis; high-positive rheumatoid factor and/or anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (titre > 3 x upper limit of normal); presence or history of certain extra-articular manifestations of RA (vasculitis, Felty's syndrome, secondary Sjögren's syndrome, cutaneous rheumatoid nodules, serositis, and/or scleritis/uveitis); high RA disease activity in the prior 12 months. Patients previously identified as having ILD, or who have had a CT scan in the prior 2 years, will not be eligible. Participants will undergo an HRCT scan at their local site, which will be assessed centrally by two expert radiologists. Data will be collected prospectively on demographic and RA-related characteristics, patient-reported outcomes, comorbidities and pulmonary function. The primary outcomes will be the development of a probability score for RA-ILD, based on a multivariable model incorporating potential risk factors commonly assessed in clinical practice, and an estimate of the prevalence of RA-ILD in the study population. It is planned that 1200 participants will be enrolled at approximately 30 sites in the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain.

Discussion: Data from the ANCHOR-RA study will add to the body of evidence to support recommendations for screening for RA-ILD to improve detection of this important complication of RA and enable early intervention.

Trial registration: NCT05855109 (submission date: 3 May 2023).

Keywords: Connective tissue diseases; Pulmonary fibrosis; Rheumatic diseases; Tomography.

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