Author(s): Matteson EL, Lowe VJ, Prendergast FG, Crowson CS, Moder KG,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Development of a simple and accurate technique for detecting active inflammation in the joints and other tissues of patients with inflammatory disorders is an unmet need in rheumatic diseases. This study is a preliminary assessment of the safety and usage of a radiopharmaceutical, FolateScan (Technetium-99m EC20; 99mTc-EC20), for detecting disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS: EC20 is a folate-targeted diagnostic radiopharmaceutical which binds to the folate receptor and is preferentially taken up by activated macrophages. In this open-label, cross-sectional study, a total of 40 patients with RA (26 with one or more swollen joints, 14 with clinically quiescent joint disease; 0/66 joint count) as well as 6 patients with osteoarthritis, 12 patients with other inflammatory conditions and 5 healthy subjects received 0.1 mg of EC20 labeled with 20-25mCi of technetium-99m. Disease activity was scored in each joint and other target tissues by a radiologist blinded to the clinical assessment, and results were compared to the rheumatologist's physical examination, which served as the test standard. RESULTS: The 40 patients (78\% female) with RA had a mean age of 56.9 years. Assessment of uptake of 99mTc-EC20 in joints of patients with RA based on image analysis was compared to the clinical examination. FolateScan detected more actively involved joints in 27 patients (68\%) than joints recorded as "swollen", and more actively involved joints in 25 patients (63\%) than joints recorded as "painful and/or swollen". The number of swollen joints by clinical exam was correlated with ESR (r=0.43; p=0.006) and C-rp (r=0.35; p=0.03). The number of actively involved joints by FolateScan was also correlated with ESR (r=0.47; p=0.002) and C-rp (r=0.36; p=0.02). Joint uptake was also seen in patients with osteoarthritis. CONCLUSION: FolateScan is a potentially useful tool for detection of disease activity in patients with RA and may be more sensitive than the physical examination.
This article was published in Clin Exp Rheumatol
and referenced in Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology