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עמוד בית
Tue, 25.06.24

Search results


March 2024
Brittany Bass MD, Kuaybe Gulen MD, Liying Han MD PhD, Kassem Harris MD, Oleg Epelbaum MD FACP FCCP ATSF

A 69-year-old woman with a 30-year history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on leflunomide presented with dizziness and weakness. Vital signs, cardiopulmonary auscultation, and laboratory studies were normal. The serological status of her RA was unknown. She exhibited ulnar deviation and swan-necking of the hands but no nodular skin lesions. She was an active smoker. Chest radiography revealed an opacity in the right lung. Computed tomography (CT) showed multiple pulmonary nodules and a dominant thick-walled cavitary mass in the periphery of the right lower lobe [Figure 1A]. Due to concern for a malignancy or infection, she underwent a bronchoscopy with a biopsy of the mass, which was non-diagnostic. A subsequent transthoracic needle biopsy demonstrated a central zone of necrosis surrounded by a cuff of palisading epithelioid histiocytes with the presence of occasional giant cells [Figure 1B]. There was no malignancy, and stains for micro-organisms were negative. In this clinical context, biopsy results were consistent with a pulmonary rheumatoid nodule (PRN).

February 2024
Sotirios G. Tsiogkas MD, Yoad M. Dvir, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Dimitrios P. Bogdanos MD PhD

Over the last decade the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has reformed academic research. While clinical diagnosis of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is largely straightforward, the determining factors of a clinical response to therapy, and specifically to biologic agents, have not yet been found. AI may meaningfully impact attempts to unravel the prognostic factors that affect response to therapy, assist experimental techniques being used to investigate immune cell populations, examine whether these populations are associated with treatment responses, and incorporate immunophenotype data in prediction models. The aim of this mini review was to present the current state of the AI-mediated attempts in the field. We executed a Medline search in October 2023. Selection and presentation of studies were conducted following the principles of a narrative–review design. We present data regarding the impact AI can have on the management of psoriatic disease by predicting responses utilizing clinical or biological parameters. We also reviewed the ways AI has been implemented to assist development of models that revolutionize the investigation of peripheral immune cell subsets that can be used as biomarkers of response to biologic treatment. Last, we discussed future perspectives and ethical considerations regarding the use of machine learning models in the management of immune-mediated diseases.

October 2023
Andreza Rosa Cabral MS, Josy Davidson PhD, Jozélio Freire de Carvalho MD PhD

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease characterized by synovitis leading to polyarthritis. It affects 1% of the population [1]. Genetic and environmental factors are linked to the development of RA and include the presence of HLA-DR4 and shared epitope, and smoking is the primary representative of the negative environmental factor [1].

However, RA mainly affects middle age. Late-onset RA that initiates after 60 years is sometimes named elderly onset rheumatoid arthritis (EORA) [2]. This disease's prevalence varied from 2.03% to 2.34% in a large study in the United States. EORA affects more women than men [1]. However, to the best of our knowledge, no patient description of RA initiated at 97 years of age has been described.

Gilad Rotem MD, Amir Arami MD, Iana Leineman MD, Alon Covo MD

Psoriatic arthritis can present with significant hand and wrist deformity and dysfunction [1]. The development of newer biological therapies has resulted in higher rates of remission [2]. However, surgical intervention is still indicated in pain, disability, and severe deformation cases. The management of patients with rheumatic diseases has a controversial history, characterized by rheumatologists and hand surgeons debating the efficacy of surgical interventions. Some surgeons attribute the controversial results to “too little and too late” referral of patients from rheumatologists [3]. While the availability of new and more effective medication has changed the indications and postponed surgical intervention, it is important to remember that surgery is often more effective when used preventively in the early stages than when forced to salvage. In the following case, we present a patient with psoriatic arthritis who presented with advanced-stage debilitating hand deformity and was treated surgically.

August 2023
Hila Nochomovitz MD, Shlomo Berliner MD, Ori Elkayam MD PhD, David Zeltser MD, Itzhak Shapira MD, Ori Rogowski MD, Smadar Gertel PhD, Shani Shenhar-Tsarfaty PhD, Victoria Furer MD

Background: The parasympathetic system and its main neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, contributes to homeostasis of inflammation. Cholinergic dysregulation is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Cholinesterase activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) has not been investigated.

Objectives: To compare the cholinesterase activity in patients with PsA and immunocompetent controls and to explore the correlation between cholinergic status (CS) and PsA disease activity.

Methods: Serum acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and total cholinesterase activity were measured in patients with PsA (n=88) and matched controls (n=84). Cholinergic activity before and 3–6 months after the initiation of a biologic treatment was evaluated in seven patients with PsA.

Results: The levels of AChE and CS were similar in both PsA patients and controls. PsA patients treated with biologics had significantly lower levels of AChE and CS compared to patients treated with non-biologics: 447.4 vs. 526 substrate hydrolyzed/min/ml, P = 0.005, and 1360.9 vs. 1536, P = 0.029, respectively. We found an association between C-reactive protein levels, AChE activity (r = 0.291, P = 0.008), and cholinergic status (r = 0.247, P = 0.026) in patients with PsA but not in controls. No correlation between AChE activity, cholinergic status, and the indices of PsA disease activity was found. After initiating or switching biologic treatment in 7 patients, AChE levels remained stable.

Conclusions: We demonstrated similar cholinesterase activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis and controls, highlighting a potential effect of biologic treatment on cholinergic activity in patients with PsA.

February 2023
Amir Dagan MD, Ester Rabin MD

A 65-year-old male with a medical history of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney failure, and ulcerative colitis arrived at our facility with knee monoarthritis. The knee was tapped with 40 cc pus-like discharge [Figure 1A]. He was referred for a knee lavage with a working diagnosis of septic arthritis. The patient was afebrile, denied trauma, without neutrophilia on blood count.

November 2021
Ilaria Duca MD, Bruno Lucchino MD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Alessio Altobelli MD, Carmelo Pirone MD, Chiara Gioia MD, Guido Valesini MD, Fabrizio Conti MD PhD, and Manuela Di Franco MD

Background: In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), females usually have a worse prognosis. To date, the influence of physician gender in the evaluation of RA activity is still largely unknown.

Objectives: To investigate the discrepancy in RA disease activity assessment between male and female physicians and to compare patient and evaluator perception of disease activity and global health (GH) status.

Methods: One female and one male rheumatologist evaluated 154 RA patients recording tender and swollen joint count, GH, evaluator global assessment (EGA), and patient global assessment (PGA) disease activity. A third rheumatologist calculated DAS28, CDAI, and SDAI. Difference was evaluated by Wilcoxon test. Physician–patient agreement was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient.

Results: GH, PGA, and DAS28 were higher when recorded by the female examiner. Male EGA was higher than female. Among male patients, PGA was higher when collected by the female examiner. The probability of being judged as having an active disease did not rely on physician gender. The agreement with the physician’s evaluation of disease activity was high. PGA values were higher than EGA in both examiners. The physician–patient agreement was moderate for the male examiner and good for the female. The female physician had a higher agreement with both genders.

Conclusions: Subjective measure of disease activity differs between female and male rheumatologists, contributing to a different evaluation of disease activity. Patients have a higher perception of disease activity compared to physicians. The stronger agreement between female physicians and patients may be related to a more emphatic setting established by the female physician

October 2021
Rotem Shpatz MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive joint disease with the presence of autoantibodies, rheumatoid factor (RF), and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). The presence of RF or ACPA predicts RA severity. Data on the influence of ACPA titer on RA course are limited.

Objectives: To determine the correlation between ACPA titers at the time of RA diagnosis to RA features and severity during 3 years of follow-up.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of RA patients treated at our institution during the years 2006–2015 with known ACPA titers at RA diagnosis who completed at least 3 years of follow-up. Patients (N=133) were divided according to ACPA titer: seronegative (< 15 U/ml, n=55), weakly positive (15–49 U/ml, n=18), moderately positive (50–300 U/ml, n=29), and strongly positive (> 300 U/ml, n=31). Patient data, including disease activity score (DAS28), bone erosion on hand and/or foot X-rays, treatments with corticosteroids and disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and hospitalizations, were recorded. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney method were used for statistical analysis. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Male gender, smoking, and RF positivity correlated with ACPA positivity and higher ACPA titers. There was no correlation between ACPA titer and the variables defined as representing RA severity: higher DAS28, bone erosions, hospitalizations, need for corticosteroids, and conventional and biological DMARDs.

Conclusions: Titer of ACPA was not identified as a predictive factor for RA severity

July 2021
Ramona Lucchetti MD, Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory rheumatic disease characterized by different phenotypes in terms of joint involvement. The so-called oligoarticular pattern involves fewer than five active joints at a different time points. The evaluation of disease activity in this subset of patients is an unmet need due to the lack of specific indices able to capture modifications over time.

Objectives: To evaluate the ability of musculoskeletal ultrasound to monitor the response to apremilast treatment in oligoarticular PsA patients.

Methods: We evaluated 24 oligoarticular patients (19 women, 5 men; median age 56 years, interquartile range (IQR) 19; median disease duration 5 years, IQR 5.75). All patients were assessed at baseline (T0), and after 6 (T1), 12 (T2), and 24 (T3) weeks. Clinical assessment included evaluation of 66 swollen joints and patient global health assessment. All the patients underwent ultrasound assessment of the clinically involved joints. Synovial effusion/hypertrophy and power Doppler were scored with a semi-quantitative scale (0–3). The total inflammatory score was the sum of the scores.

Results: We found a reduction in the ultrasound inflammatory score at all time points, with a significant improvement at 6 and 12 weeks of treatment compared with baseline: T0 median 8.5 (IQR 5.0); T1 3.5 (3.0); T2 2.0 (3.5); P  = 0.01. We observed a significant reduction of patient global health assessment after 24 weeks (T0 median 50 (32.5); T3 40 (57.5); P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal ultrasound could be useful in the assessment of treatment response in PsA patients with oligoarticular subset

June 2021
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Elisabetta Gerratana MD, Sara Bongiovanni MD, Rossella Talotta MD PhD, Gianfranco Miceli MD, Fausto Salaffi MD PhD, and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD

Background: There is a lack of real-life clinical data for biosimilar etanercept, an anti-TNF blocking fusion protein. We describe the comparable efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a real-life clinical setting. Our data confirm that a biosimilar etanercept can be safely used as first-line treatment as well as in patients switched from a previous originator compound.

Objectives: To compare the efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in a cohort of RA patients attending two Italian hospitals.

Methods: The study involved 81 consecutive adult RA patients treated for at least 6 months with originator or biosimilar etanercept and considered their clinical and laboratory data, concomitant medications, and adverse events at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.

Results: Group 1 included 51 patients taking originator etanercept; group 2 included 30 taking biosimilar etanercept, including 19 who had been switched from the reference product. Despite a significant baseline difference in clinical disease activity, one-way analysis of variance showed that the two groups were clinically comparable after 6 months of treatment, and the same was true when only those receiving etanercept as first-line biological treatment were considered. Nine patients discontinued the treatment due to inefficacy or adverse events, which were never serious and were only reported in group 1.

Conclusions: The efficacy and safety profiles of originator and biosimilar etanercept are comparable in RA patients in a real-life clinical setting. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings

September 2020
Pnina Langevitz MD, Merav Lidar MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Joy Feld MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Howard Amital MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Ori Elkayam MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD, Dror Mevorach MD, Oded Kimhi MD, Yair Molad MD, Ana Kuperman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Tocilizumab is an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist used treat moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) routes are approved for the treatment of adults with RA.

Objectives: To evaluate SC tocilizumab in a real-life clinical setting.

Methods: Our study was a multi-center, open-label, single-arm study. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of active RA, previously treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with or without biologic agents. Participants received a weekly SC injection of tocilizumab 162 mg as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate or DMARDs for 24 weeks. Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity were assessed.

Results: Treatment of 100 patients over 24 weeks resulted in improvement in all efficacy parameters assessed: Clinical Disease Activity Index, Disease Activity Score using 28 joint counts and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, American College of Rheumatology response scores, Simplified Disease Activity Index, tender and swollen joint counts, and patient-reported outcomes including fatigue, global assessment of disease activity, pain, and Health Assessment Quality of Life Disease Index. Improvement was achieved as early as the second week of treatment. There were 473 adverse events (AEs)/100 patient-years (PY) and 16.66 serious AEs/100 PY. The most common AEs were neutropenia (12%), leukopenia (11%), and increased hepatic enzymes (11%). Of a total of 42 PY, the rates of serious infections and AEs leading to discontinuation were 4.8, and 11.9 events/100 PY, respectively.

Conclusions: The safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile of tocilizumab SC were comparable to those reported in other studies evaluating the IV and SC routes of administration.

 

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