Why Do Some Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Respond Better to Treatment than Others?

The proportion of specific inflammatory proteins can influence treatment outcomes.

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have higher amounts of type 1 interferon beta inflammatory proteins have a poorer response to treatment with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors compared with type 1 interferon alpha, according to a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in San Francisco, CA.

During the study, researchers examined monocytes, which showed these cells behaved differently in one group than in another.

“Investigating these pathways may identify other targets for therapy or make other markers that predict treatment response,” said first study author Theresa Wampler Muskardin, MD. “It will help rheumatologists find the right drug for each patient and spare patients medications that won’t work for them.”

The findings open the door for the development of more personalized treatment in patients with RA.

Additional findings presented at the meeting included: a 70% higher risk of coronary artery disease among patients with polymyalgia rheumatica; heart and circulatory abnormalities are common in Takayasu’s arteritis; and sarcoidosis carries a higher risk of heart disease and venous thromboembolism. Sarcoidosis was also found to have a seasonal variation, with rates found to be consistently lower in the autumn.