OBJECTIVES: PMR frequently co-occurs with GCA. So far, a simple biomarker for detecting concomitant arterial inflammation in PMR patients is lacking. Furthermore, biomarkers predicting disease course in PMR are awaited. We here investigated the diagnostic and prognostic value of acute-phase markers (ESR, CRP, IL-6, serum amyloid A) and angiogenesis markers (VEGF, soluble Tie2, angiopoietin-1, angiopoietin-2) in isolated PMR and PMR/GCA overlap patients.
METHODS: We prospectively included 39 treatment-naïve PMR patients, of whom 10 patients also showed evidence of large vessel GCA by PET-CT. Age-matched healthy controls (n = 32) and infection controls (n = 13) were included for comparison. Serum marker levels were measured by an ELISA or Luminex assay. Receiver operating characteristic and Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to asses diagnostic and prognostic accuracy, respectively.
RESULTS: All acute-phase and angiogenesis markers, except angiopoietin-1, were higher in isolated PMR patients than in healthy controls. Angiopoietin-2, ESR and soluble Tie-2 were significantly higher in patients with PMR/GCA overlap than in isolated PMR patients. Angiopoeietin-2, but not soluble Tie2, outperformed ESR and CRP in discriminating patients with and without overlapping GCA (area under the curve: 0.90; sensitivity: 100%; specificity: 76%). Moreover, high angiopoietin-2 levels were associated with long-term glucocorticoid requirement.
CONCLUSION: Assessment of angiopoietin-2 at baseline may assist diagnosis of concomitant vasculitis in PMR. Moreover, high levels of angiopoietin-2 were associated with an unfavourable disease course in isolated PMR patients. These findings imply that angiopoietin-2 is an interesting diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in PMR.