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Is a positive family history of spondyloarthritis relevant for diagnosing axial spondyloarthritis once HLA-B27 status is known?

Journal article
Authors M. van Lunteren
D. van der Heijde
A. Sepriano
I. J. Berg
M. Dougados
L. Gossec
Lennart T. H. Jacobsson
R. Ramonda
M. Rudwaleit
J. Sieper
R. Landewe
F. A. van Gaalen
Published in Rheumatology
Volume 58
Issue 9
Pages 1649-1654
ISSN 1462-0324
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Pages 1649-1654
Language en
Subject categories Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


Objectives. A positive family history (PFH) of spondyloarthritis, in particular a PFH of AS or acute anterior uveitis, is associated with HLA-B27 carriership in chronic back pain patients. As it is unknown, the study aimed to investigate if a PFH contributes to diagnosing axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) once HLA-B27 status is known. Methods. In axSpA-suspected patients from the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS), DEvenir des Spondyloarthropathies Indifferenciees Recentes (DESIR) and SPondyloArthritis Caught Early (SPACE) cohorts, logistic regression analyses were performed with HLA-B27 status and PFH according to the ASAS definition (ASAS-PFH) as determinants and clinical axSpA diagnosis as outcome at baseline. Analyses were repeated with a PFH of AS or acute anterior uveitis. Results. In total, 1818 patients suspected of axSpA were analysed (ASAS n = 594, DESIR n = 647, and SPACE n = 577). In patients from the ASAS, DESIR and SPACE cohorts, respectively 23%, 39% and 38% had an ASAS-PFH, 52%, 58% and 43% were HLA-B27 positive, and 62%, 47% and 54% were diagnosed with axSpA. HLA-B27 was independently associated with an axSpA diagnosis in each cohort but an ASAS-PFH was not [ASAS cohort: HLA-B27 odds ratio (OR): 6.9 (95% CI: 4.7, 10.2), ASAS-PFH OR: 0.9 (95% CI: 0.6, 1.4); DESIR: HLA-B27 OR: 2.1 (95% CI: 1.5, 2.9), ASAS-PFH OR: 1.0 (95% CI 0.7, 1.3); SPACE: HLA-B27 OR: 10.4 (95% CI: 6.9, 15.7), ASAS-PFH OR: 1.0 (95% CI: 0.7, 1.5)]. Similar negative results were found for PFH of AS and acute anterior uveitis. Conclusion. In three independent cohorts with different ethnical backgrounds, ASAS, DESIR and SPACE, a PFH was not associated independently of HLA-B27 with a diagnosis of axSpA. This indicates that in the vast majority of patients presenting with back pain, a PFH does not contribute to the likelihood of an axSpA diagnosis if HLA-B27 status is known.

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