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Arthritis research & therapy


The Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) has defined core sets for (i) symptom-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (SM-ARD), (ii) clinical record keeping, and (iii) disease-controlling anti-rheumatic therapy (DC-ART). These include the following domains for all three core sets: "physical function," "pain," "spinal mobility," "spinal stiffness," and "patient's global assessment" (PGA). The core set for clinical record keeping further includes the domains "peripheral joints/entheses" and "acute phase reactants," and the core set for DC-ART further includes the domains "fatigue" and "spine radiographs/hip radiographs." The Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) endorsed the core sets in 1998.Using empirical evidence from axSpA trials, we investigated the efficacy (i.e., net benefit) according to the ASAS/OMERACT core outcome set for axSpA across all interventions tested in trials included in subsequent Cochrane reviews. For all continuous scales, we combined data using the standardized mean difference (SMD) to meta-analyze outcomes involving the same domains. Also, through meta-regression analysis, we examined the effect of the separate SMD measures (independent variables) on the primary endpoint (log [OR], dependent variable) across all trials.Based on 11 eligible Cochrane reviews, from these, 85 articles were screened; we included 43 trials with 63 randomized comparisons. Mean (SD) number of ASAS/OMERACT core outcome domains measured for SM-ARD/physical therapy trials was 4.2 (1.7). Six trials assessed all proposed domains. Mean (SD) for number of core outcome domains for DC-ART trials was 5.8 (1.7). No trials assessed all nine domains. Eight trials (16%) were judged to have inadequate (i.e., high risk of) selective outcome reporting bias. The most responsible core domains for achieving success in meeting the primary objective per trial were pain, OR (95% CI) 5.19 (2.28, 11.77), and PGA, OR (95% CI) 1.87 (1.14, 3.07). In conclusion, selective outcome reporting (and "missing data") should be reduced by encouraging the use of the endorsed ASAS/OMERACT outcome domains in clinical trials. Overall outcome reporting was good for SM-ARD/physical therapy trials and poor for DC-ART trials. Our findings suggest that both PGA and pain provide a valuable holistic construct for the assessment of improvement beyond more objective measures of spinal inflammation.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine