Radiographic assessment of disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis patients enrolled in the cooperative systematic studies of the rheumatic diseases program randomized clinical trial of methotrexate, auranofin, or a combination of the two

Arthritis Rheum. 1993 Oct;36(10):1364-9. doi: 10.1002/art.1780361006.


Objective: To determine the radiographic progression of disease in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients from the Cooperative Systematic Studies of the Rheumatic Diseases clinical trial of auranofin (AUR) versus methotrexate (MTX) versus a combination of the two.

Methods: Baseline (week-0) and study-end (week-48) hand/wrist radiographs in 200 of the 211 patients who completed this multicenter trial (95%) were scored blindly by 2 readers for the presence of erosions and joint space narrowing (JSN). Both intraobserver reliability and interobserver reliability were 0.80 for erosions (P < or = 0.001); intraobserver reliability and interobserver reliability were both 0.75 for JSN (P < or = 0.001).

Results: Worsening erosion and JSN scores occurred in all 3 treatment groups, but the difference from baseline reached significance only in the AUR group.

Conclusion: Clinical improvement has been clearly documented in all 3 treatment groups in this trial. Radiographic deterioration occurs in RA even when clinical features improve, but progression of disease as determined radiographically may be slowed by treatment with MTX.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthrography
  • Auranofin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hand / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Wrist Joint / diagnostic imaging


  • Auranofin
  • Methotrexate