Ioannis Parodis, MD


August 10, 2015

In This Article

EULAR 2015: Introduction

The 2015 annual European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) meeting was hosted in Rome and had everything one could expect from Italian culture, gastronomy, hospitality, and spirit. The meeting offered an exceptionally high standard for communicating new knowledge and current research in rheumatology. In this summary, I have included some of the highlights from this year's meeting in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSc), osteoporosis, and gout.

Advances in Rheumatoid Arthritis

In recent years, imaging has received increasing attention in rheumatology, particularly in RA, and new insights into imaging had a central role at the EULAR meeting. Mangnus and colleagues[1] reported that symptom-free, healthy individuals may have inflammation, as detected by MRI; however, in their study, these individuals had low inflammation scores. The prevalence of inflammation depended on the type of inflammation (eg, synovitis, bone marrow edema, tenosynovitis), the anatomical location, and the individual's age.

Musculoskeletal ultrasonography is a modern diagnostic tool in RA, and in rheumatology in general. In a recent study based on the Bayesian principle of pretest vs post-test probabilities, Rezaei and colleagues[2] demonstrated that the diagnostic certainty in early arthritis was significantly enhanced by the use of ultrasonography. Moreover, fluorescent optical imaging (RheumaScan® Xiralite®; mivenion GmBH; Berlin, Germany) is an upcoming and promising method for diagnosis and evaluation of arthritis activity in the hands, as reported by Kisten and colleagues[3] at the meeting.

Apart from imaging, biomarkers are also important to complement clinical assessment and as prognostic tools to tailoring therapeutic regimens. In a recent study, a multi-biomarker disease activity score identified patients with early RA at risk for radiographic progression.[4] This importance of biomarkers was highlighted by Dr Bernard Combe from the University of Montpellier in France; he discussed treatment stratification, suggesting that indicators that predict or predispose for favorable or unfavorable treatment outcomes, such as disease phenotype, serology, disease activity or severity, and comorbidities, could add value to clinical evaluation and decision-making.[5]

Biosimilars represent attractive therapeutic options, allowing increased accessibility to targeted therapies and reducing drug costs. This year marked the approval of a biosimilar for infliximab by the European Medicines Agency. This was a landmark for future widespread use of biosimilars in RA and other rheumatic diseases, which was an exciting way to usher in this year's EULAR meeting.


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