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The spectrum of axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) (including both non-radiographic and radiographic AxSpA), also known as ankylosing spondylitis AS, has achieved growing recognition. With the development of treatments not only effective in controlling disease activity but also in slowing radiographic progression, and given the cost and risk profiles of these novel treatments and the limitations of current clinical criteria, imaging and peripheral blood biomarkers (C-reactive protein, HLA-B27 testing), the need for better biomarkers has never been greater. The purpose of this review is to present up-to-date information on the biomarkers for the diagnosis for assessing disease diagnosis, activity, treatment response, and radiographic progression of AxSpA, and entails multiple search strings used to identify articles of interest published in PubMed and the Cochrane database up to May 1, 2021. We present the current status of research in serologic biomarkers such as cytokines, adipokines, matrix metalloproteinases, calprotectin, CD74, antibodies, bone turnover markers, and circulating protein fragments of cartilage and connective tissue degradation and other biomarkers. Despite a great deal of work, most serologic results have been disappointing and to date none perform better than CRP. Recent promising preliminary data for some has been published, but require further confirmation. Transcriptomic biomarkers such as micro-RNAs and genetic biomarkers also show promise to assist in diagnosis and possibly for radiographic severity, including a recently developed panel of genetic risk markers used in a polygenic risk score instrument in AS diagnosis. These need further confirmation and application in AS as well as in nr-AxSpA. © 2021. International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR).


John D Reveille. Biomarkers in axial spondyloarthritis and low back pain: a comprehensive review. Clinical rheumatology. 2022 Mar;41(3):617-634

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PMID: 34674081

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