Associations between an expanded autoantibody profile and treatment responses to biologic therapies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Alison D. Petro, Joseph Dougherty, Bryant R. England, Harlan Sayles, Michael J. Duryee, Carlos D. Hunter, Joel M. Kremer, Dimitrios A. Pappas, William H. Robinson, Jeffrey R. Curtis, Geoffrey M. Thiele, Ted R. Mikuls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Although biologics represent a major advance in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), many patients fail to achieve adequate responses to these agents. We examined whether combined positivity to three well-characterized autoantibodies predicts treatment response among RA patients initiating biologics. Methods: The study included biologic-naïve patients initiating anti-TNF treatment, biologic-exposed patients switching to rituximab or tocilizumab, and patients (biologic naïve or exposed) initiating abatacept. Rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibody, and IgG antibodies to malondialdehyde-acetaldehyde (MAA) were measured using banked enrollment serum. The relationship between the number of autoantibodies positive (0–3) and treatment response (absolute improvement in 28-joint Disease Activity Score [DAS28-CRP] or improvement > 1.2) at 6 months was examined using multivariable linear and logistic regression. Results: Of 1,229 patients initiating biologics, 79% were women; 89% were Caucasian. The number of baseline RA-related autoantibodies positive was associated with improved treatment response in a dose-dependent fashion. Compared to patients seronegative for all autoantibodies, adjusting for covariates, those positive for all three were more than twice (OR 2.35; 95% CI 1.57–3.51) as likely to achieve DAS28 improvement > 1.2 units. Associations of autoantibody positivity with biologic treatment response were strongest for anti-CCP antibody, persisted in analyses limited to biologic naïve patients, and did not appear to differ markedly among different agents examined. Conclusion: An expanded autoantibody profile appears to significantly predict RA treatment response to biologic treatment in a dose-dependent fashion. Incorporating these serologic profiles with additional biomarkers or other informative patient characteristics could provide an opportunity to personalize RA management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107260
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biologics
  • Biomarkers
  • DAS28
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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