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Serum survivin predicts responses to treatment in active rheumatoid arthritis: a post hoc analysis from the SWEFOT trial

Journal article
Authors A. Levitsky
Malin Erlandsson
R. F. van Vollenhoven
Maria Bokarewa
Published in Bmc Medicine
Volume 13
ISSN 1741-7015
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-015-0485-...
Keywords Rheumatoid arthritis, Biomarkers, Survivin, Methotrexate, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, modifying antirheumatic drugs, necrosis-factor inhibitors, anti-apoptosis gene, eular recommendations, extracellular survivin, clinical-outcomes, emerging role, methotrexate, expression, combination, General & Internal Medicine
Subject categories Rheumatology and Autoimmunity

Abstract

Background: The identification of biomarkers that predict optimal and individual choices of treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis gains increasing attention. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the proto-oncogene survivin might aid in treatment decisions in early rheumatoid arthritis. Methods: Serum survivin levels were measured in 302 patients who completed the Swedish pharmacotherapy (SWEFOT) trial at baseline, 3, 12, and 24 months. Survivin levels > 0.45 ng/mL were considered positive. Based on the survivin status, core set outcomes measuring disease activity, functional disability, as well as global health and pain were evaluated after methotrexate (MTX) monotherapy at 3 months, and at 12 and 24 months of follow-up. Treatment of non-responders was randomly intensified with either a combination of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (triple therapy: MTX, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine) or by adding antibodies against tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF). Results: Antirheumatic treatment resulted in an overall decrease of serum survivin levels. Survivin-positive patients at baseline who initially responded to MTX had a higher risk of disease re-activation (OR 3.21 (95 % CI 1.12-9.24), P = 0.032) and failed to improve in their functional disability (P = 0.018) if having continued on MTX monotherapy compared to survivin-negative patients. Ever-smokers who were survivin-positive were less likely to respond to MTX than those who were survivin-negative (OR 1.91 (1.01-3.62), P = 0.045). In survivin-positive patients, triple therapy led to better improvements in disease activity than did MTX+anti-TNF. At 24 months, survivin-positive patients randomized to anti-TNF had a higher risk of active disease than those randomized to triple therapy (OR 3.15 (1.09-9.10), P = 0.037). Discussion: We demonstrate for the first time that survivin is a valuable serologic marker that can distinguish drugspecific clinical responses in early rheumatoid arthritis through the pragmatic clinical setting of the care-based SWEFOT trial. Although treatment response cannot solely be attributable to survivin status, per protocol sensitivity analyses confirmed the superior effect of triple therapy on survivin-positive patients. Conclusions: Survivin-positive patients have poor outcomes if treated with MTX monotherapy. A decrease of survivin levels during treatment is associated with better clinical responses. For survivin-positive patients who fail MTX, triple therapy is associated with better outcomes than anti-TNF therapy.

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