Objective: To determine whether using a reweighted disease activity score that better reflects joint synovitis, i.e., the 2-component Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) (based on swollen joint count and C-reactive protein level), produces more clinically relevant treatment outcome trajectories compared to the standard 4-component DAS28. Methods: Latent class mixed modeling of response to biologic treatment was applied to 2,991 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in whom treatment with a biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug was being initiated within the Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis Genetics and Genomics Study Syndicate cohort, using both 4-component and 2-component DAS28 scores as outcome measures. Patient groups with similar trajectories were compared in terms of pretreatment baseline characteristics (including disability and comorbidities) and follow-up characteristics (including antidrug antibody events, adherence to treatments, and blood drug levels). We compared the trajectories obtained using the 4- and 2-component scores to determine which characteristics were better captured by each. Results: Using the 4-component DAS28, we identified 3 trajectory groups, which is consistent with previous findings. We showed that the 4-component DAS28 captures information relating to depression. Using the 2-component DAS28, 7 trajectory groups were identified; among them, distinct groups of nonresponders had a higher incidence of respiratory comorbidities and a higher proportion of antidrug antibody events. We also identified a group of patients for whom the 2-component DAS28 scores remained relatively low; this group included a high percentage of patients who were nonadherent to treatment. This highlights the utility of both the 4- and 2-component DAS28 for monitoring different components of disease activity. Conclusion: Here we show that the 2-component modified DAS28 defines important biologic and clinical phenotypes associated with treatment outcome in RA and characterizes important underlying response mechanisms to biologic drugs.
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