Second-generation assays for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP), a highly sensitive and specific marker for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have redefined the epidemiology of RA. In the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) RA study (2009-2011), we evaluated the prevalence of anti-CCP positivity among 15,691 (10.2% of 161,808) WHI participants aged 50-79 years who reported RA. Using stored baseline specimens, we measured serum anti-CCP, rheumatoid factor (RF), and antinuclear antibody in a defined sample of 9,988 of black, white, and Hispanic women. In a subset of women, we measured plasma cytokine levels and number of copies of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 (HLA-DRB1) shared epitope in DNA by means of Luminex polymerase chain reaction typing (Luminex Corporation, Austin, Texas). We validated classification of probable clinical RA in 2 clinics as anti-CCP positivity or self-reported validated use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The prevalence of anti-CCP positivity was 8.1%, and the prevalence of RF positivity was approximately 16.0%. DMARD use including prednisone was reported by 1,140 (11.4%) participants (841 excluding prednisone) but by 57.5% of anti-CCP-positive women. The prevalence of 2 shared epitopes was also much higher for anti-CCP-positive women (18.2%, as opposed to only 5.5% for women with anti-CCP-negative DMARD-positive RA and 6.6% for anti-CCP-negative, RF-negative DMARD nonusers). Median cytokine levels were much higher for anti-CCP-positive/RF-positive women. Women with anti-CCP-positive RA and anti-CCP-negative RA had different characteristics with regard to HLA shared epitope, cigarette smoking, and inflammation (cytokines).
View details for DOI 10.1093/aje/kwu003
View details for Web of Science ID 000333247200013
View details for PubMedID 24569640
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3969537