ATLANTA – , according to recent results from the Very Early Diagnosis Of Systemic Sclerosis (VEDOSS) study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
“Our data show that thanks [to a] combination of the signs that characterize the various phases of the disease, patients can be diagnosed [with systemic sclerosis] in the very early stages,” first author, assistant professor in the division of rheumatology at the University of Florence (Italy), said in her presentation.
Dr. Bellando-Randone and colleagues performed a longitudinal, observational study of 742 patients (mean 45.7 years old) at 42 centers in a cohort of mostly women (90%), nearly all of whom had had Raynaud’s phenomenon for longer than 36 months (97.5%). Patients were excluded if they had systemic sclerosis based on ACR 1980 classification criteria and/or ACR–European League Against Rheumatism 2013 criteria, had systemic sclerosis together with other connective-tissue diseases, or were unlikely to be present for three consecutive annual exams. Data collection began in March 2012 with follow-up of 5 years.
The researchers determined the positive predictive values (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) of clinical features, systemic sclerosis–specific antibodies, and nailfold video capillaroscopy (NVC) abnormalities on progression from Raynaud’s phenomenon to systemic sclerosis. Laboratory data collected at baseline included presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), anticentromere antibodies (ACA), anti-DNA topoisomerase I antibodies (anti-Scl-70), anti-U1RNP antibodies, anti-RNA polymerase III antibodies (ARA), N-terminal pro b-type natriuretic peptides (NT-proBNP), and C-reactive protein/erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Dr. Bellando-Randone and colleagues also collected clinical, pulmonary function, lung high-resolution CT, echocardiographic, and ECG data at baseline.
Predictions were based on these factors alone and in combination. Overall, 65% of patients had positive ANA. Other baseline characteristics present in patients that predicted systemic sclerosis included positive ACA/anti-Scl-70/ARA (32%), NVC abnormalities such as giant capillaries (25%), and puffy fingers (17%).
Using Kaplan-Meier analysis, the researchers found 7.4% of 401 patients who were ANA positive progressed to meet ACR-EULAR 2013 criteria, and the percentage of these patients increased to 29.3% at 3 years and 44.1% at 5 years. When the researchers considered disease-specific antibodies alone, 10.6% of 90 patients progressed from Raynaud’s phenomenon to systemic sclerosis within 1 year, 39.6% within 3 years, and 50.3% within 5 years. When the researchers analyzed disease-specific antibodies and NVC abnormalities together, 16% of 72 patients progressed to systemic sclerosis within 1 year, 61.7% within 3 years, and 77.4% within 5 years.
Puffy fingers also were a predictor of progression, and 14.4% of 69 patients with puffy fingers alone progressed from Raynaud’s phenomenon to systemic sclerosis at 1 year, 47.7% at 3 years, and 67.9% at 5 years. Considering puffy fingers and disease-specific antibodies together, 20% of 27 patients progressed at 1 year, 56.3% at 3 years, and 91.3% at 5 years. No patients with puffy fingers together and NVC abnormalities progressed to systemic sclerosis at 1 year, but 60.4% of 22 patients progressed at 3 years before plateauing at 5 years. For patients with NVC abnormalities alone, 7.1% progressed to systemic sclerosis from Raynaud’s phenomenon at 1 year, 39.4% at 3 years, and 52.7% at 5 years.
“Regarding capillaroscopy, we have to say that not all centers that participated were equally screened in capillaroscopy, and so we cannot assume the accuracy of this data,” she said.
Dr. Bellando-Randone noted that, apart from puffy fingers, disease-specific antibodies, and NVC abnormalities, patients were more likely to have a history of esophageal symptoms if they progressed to systemic sclerosis (37.3%), compared with patients who did not progress (23.6%; P = .003).
Puffy fingers alone were an independent predictor of systemic sclerosis (PPV, 78.9%; NPV, 45.1%) as well as in combination with disease-specific antibodies (PPV, 94.1%; NPV, 43.9%). The combination of disease-specific antibodies plus NVC abnormalities also independently predicted progression to systemic sclerosis (PPV, 82.2%; NPV, 50.4%). In a Cox multivariate analysis, disease-specific antibodies (relative risk, 5.4; 95% confidence interval, 3.7-7.9) and puffy fingers (RR, 3.0; 95% CI, 2.0-4.4) together were strongly predictive of progression from Raynaud’s phenomenon to systemic sclerosis (RR, 4.3; 95% CI, 2.6-7.3).
“This is really important for the risk stratification of patients [in] the very early stages of the disease, even if these data should be corroborated by larger data in larger studies in the future,” said Dr. Bellando-Randone.
The investigators reported having no conflicts of interest.
SOURCE: Bellando-Randone S et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019;71(suppl 10). Abstract