PLoS One 2017 13;12(12):e0187397. Epub 2017 Dec 13.
Department of Clinical Research, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, United States of America.
The objective of this study was to compare the scope and the discriminative power of Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) to those of semi-quantitative MRI scoring for evaluating treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in multicenter randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Sixty-one patients with active RA participated in a double-blind, parallel group, randomized, multicenter methodology study receiving infliximab or placebo through 14 weeks. The most symptomatic wrist and metacarpophalangeal joints (MCPs) were imaged using MRI. In addition to clinical assessments with DAS28(CRP), the severity of inflammation was measured as synovial leak of gadolinium based contrast agent (GBCA) using DCE-MRI (Ktrans, primary endpoint) at weeks 0, 2, 4, and 14. Two radiologists independently scored synovitis, osteitis and erosion using RA MRI Score (RAMRIS) and cartilage loss using a 9-point MRI scale (CARLOS). Infliximab showed greater decrease from baseline in DAS28(CRP), DCE-MRI Ktrans of wrist and MCP synovium, and RAMRIS synovitis and osteitis at all visits compared with placebo (p<0.001). Treatment effect sizes of infliximab therapy were similar for DAS28(CRP) (1.08; 90% CI (0.63-1.53)) and MRI inflammation endpoints: wrist Ktrans (1.00 (0.55-1.45)), RAMRIS synovitis (0.85 (0.38-1.28)) and RAMRIS osteitis (0.99 (0.52-1.43)). Damage measures of bone erosion (RAMRIS) and cartilage loss (CARLOS) were reduced with infliximab compared to with placebo at 14 weeks (p≤0.025). DCE-MRI and RAMRIS were equally sensitive and responsive to the anti-inflammatory effects of infliximab. RAMRIS and CARLOS showed suppression of erosion and cartilage loss, respectively, at 14 weeks. (ClinicalTrials.gov registration: NCT01313520).