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Active conventional treatment and three different biological treatments in early rheumatoid arthritis: phase IV investigator initiated, randomised, observer blinded clinical trial.Objective: To evaluate and compare benefits and harms of three biological treatments with different modes of action versus active conventional treatment in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis. Design: Investigator initiated, randomised, open label, blinded assessor, multiarm, phase IV study. Setting: Twenty nine rheumatology departments in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, and Iceland between 2012 and 2018. Participants: Patients aged 18 years and older with treatment naive rheumatoid arthritis, symptom duration less than 24 months, moderate to severe disease activity, and rheumatoid factor or anti-citrullinated protein antibody positivity, or increased C reactive protein. Interventions: Randomised 1:1:1:1, stratified by country, sex, and anti-citrullinated protein antibody status. All participants started methotrexate combined with (a) active conventional treatment (either prednisolone tapered to 5 mg/day, or sulfasalazine combined with hydroxychloroquine and intra-articular corticosteroids), (b) certolizumab pegol, (c) abatacept, or (d) tocilizumab. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was adjusted clinical disease activity index remission (CDAI≤2.8) at 24 weeks with active conventional treatment as the reference. Key secondary outcomes and analyses included CDAI remission at 12 weeks and over time, other remission criteria, a non-inferiority analysis, and harms. Results: 812 patients underwent randomisation. The mean age was 54.3 years (standard deviation 14.7) and 68.8% were women. Baseline disease activity score of 28 joints was 5.0 (standard deviation 1.1). Adjusted 24 week CDAI remission rates were 42.7% (95% confidence interval 36.1% to 49.3%) for active conventional treatment, 46.5% (39.9% to 53.1%) for certolizumab pegol, 52.0% (45.5% to 58.6%) for abatacept, and 42.1% (35.3% to 48.8%) for tocilizumab. Corresponding absolute differences were 3.9% (95% confidence interval -5.5% to 13.2%) for certolizumab pegol, 9.4% (0.1% to 18.7%) for abatacept, and -0.6% (-10.1% to 8.9%) for tocilizumab. Key secondary outcomes showed no major differences among the four treatments. Differences in CDAI remission rates for active conventional treatment versus certolizumab pegol and tocilizumab, but not abatacept, remained within the prespecified non-inferiority margin of 15% (per protocol population). The total number of serious adverse events was 13 (percentage of patients who experienced at least one event 5.6%) for active conventional treatment, 20 (8.4%) for certolizumab pegol, 10 (4.9%) for abatacept, and 10 (4.9%) for tocilizumab. Eleven patients treated with abatacept stopped treatment early compared with 20-23 patients in the other arms. Conclusions: All four treatments achieved high remission rates. Higher CDAI remission rate was observed for abatacept versus active conventional treatment, but not for certolizumab pegol or tocilizumab versus active conventional treatment. Other remission rates were similar across treatments. Non-inferiority analysis indicated that active conventional treatment was non-inferior to certolizumab pegol and tocilizumab, but not to abatacept. The results highlight the efficacy and safety of active conventional treatment based on methotrexate combined with corticosteroids, with nominally better results for abatacept, in treatment naive early rheumatoid arthritis.
Clinical spectrum of coronavirus disease 2019 in Iceland: population based cohort study.Objective: To characterise the symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19). Design: Population based cohort study. Setting: Iceland. Participants: All individuals who tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) between 17 March and 30 April 2020. Cases were identified by three testing strategies: targeted testing guided by clinical suspicion, open invitation population screening based on self referral, and random population screening. All identified cases were enrolled in a telehealth monitoring service, and symptoms were systematically monitored from diagnosis to recovery. Main outcome measures: Occurrence of one or more of 19 predefined symptoms during follow-up. Results: Among 1564 people positive for SARS-CoV-2, the most common presenting symptoms were myalgia (55%), headache (51%), and non-productive cough (49%). At the time of diagnosis, 83 (5.3%) individuals reported no symptoms, of whom 49 (59%) remained asymptomatic during follow-up. At diagnosis, 216 (14%) and 349 (22%) people did not meet the case definition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, respectively. Most (67%) of the SARS-CoV-2-positive patients had mild symptoms throughout the course of their disease. Conclusion: In the setting of broad access to RT-PCR testing, most SARS-CoV-2-positive people were found to have mild symptoms. Fever and dyspnoea were less common than previously reported. A substantial proportion of SARS-CoV-2-positive people did not meet recommended case definitions at the time of diagnosis.
Polygenic risk score-analysis of thromboembolism in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.Introduction: Thromboembolism (TE) is a common and serious toxicity of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treatment, but studies of genetic predisposition have been underpowered with conflicting results. We tested whether TE in ALL and TE in the general adult population have a shared genetic etiology. Materials and methods: We prospectively registered TE events and collected germline DNA in patients 1.0-45.9 years in the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (NOPHO) ALL2008 study (7/2008-7/2016). Based on summary statistics from two large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on venous TE in adults (the International Network of VENous Thromboembolism Clinical Research Networks (INVENT) consortium and the UK Biobank), we performed polygenic risk score (PRS) analysis on TE development in the NOPHO cohort, progressively expanding the PRS by increasing the p-value threshold of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) inclusion. Results and conclusion: Eighty-nine of 1252 patients with ALL developed TE, 2.5 year cumulative incidence 7.2%. PRS of genome-wide significant SNPs from the INVENT and UK Biobank data were not significantly associated with TE, HR 1.16 (p 0.14) and 1.02 (p 0.86), respectively. Expanding PRS by increasing p-value threshold did not reveal polygenic overlap. However, subgroup analysis of adolescents 10.0-17.9 years (n = 231), revealed significant polygenic overlap with the INVENT GWAS. The best fit PRS, including 16,144 SNPs, was associated with TE with HR 1.76 (95% CI 1.23-2.52, empirical p-value 0.02). Our results support an underlying genetic predisposition for TE in adolescents with ALL and should be explored further in future TE risk prediction models. Keywords: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Polygenic risk score; Thromboembolism.
Sepsis after elective surgery - Incidence, aetiology and outcome.Background: Sepsis requiring admission to intensive care (ICU) is a rare complication of elective surgery, but is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence and outcome of sepsis following elective surgery. Methods: This was a retrospective, observational study where all admissions to Icelandic ICUs during calendar years 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 were screened, identifing patients with sepsis following elective surgery (ACCP/SCCM criteria). The number of elective operations performed at the largest center (Landspitali) during the study years were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the incidence and outcome of patients with sepsis after elective surgery. Results: During the study years, 88 patients were admitted to Icelandic ICUs with sepsis following elective surgery. Of those, 80 were operated at Landspitali, where the incidence of sepsis was 0.19% per elective procedure, highest following pancreaticoduodenectomies (14%, CI 6-25) and esophagectomies (13%, CI 4-27), but the greatest number of patients (30% (26/88)) developed sepsis after a colorectal procedure. The most common infection sources were the abdomen (65% (57/88)) and lungs/mediastinum (22% (19/88)), frequently polymicrobial (58% (36/62) of patients with cultures). The incidence of insufficient empirical antibiotics was high (50% (30/60)). The median ICU and hospital length-of-stay were 5.5 and 26 days and the 28-day and 1-year mortality rates were 16% (14/88) and 41% (36/87), respectively. Conclusions: Incidence of sepsis following elective surgery is low in Iceland but mortality is high. Initial antimicrobial therapy needs careful consideration in these hospital-acquired, often polymicrobial infections. Keywords: Sepsis; nosocomial infections; post-operative complications; surgery.
Increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease among patients treated with rituximab in Iceland from 2001 to 2018.Objective: Immune-mediated diseases are on the rise after the introduction of powerful immunomodulating drugs. The objective of this study was to determine the population-based incidence rate of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among patients treated with the monoclonal antibody rituximab in Iceland and compare it to the baseline incidence rate of IBD in the general population. Methods: We identified all patients treated with rituximab in Iceland from 2001 to 2018 through a central medicine database. IBD cases were indexed from medical records and ICD-10 codes and further confirmed by colonoscopy- and pathology reports. An experienced pathologist compared the pathology of IBD cases with matched controls of IBD patients. Results: Lymphomas and related neoplasms were the most frequent indication for treatment with rituximab (n = 367) among the 651 patients included in the analysis. Following treatment, seven patients developed IBD: two cases of Crohn's disease, three with ulcerative colitis, and two with indeterminate IBD. The incidence rate of IBD among rituximab treated patients was 202 cases per 100,000 person-years. Comparing our data to IBD incidence in Iceland, rituximab treated patients have an age-adjusted hazard ratio of 6.6 for developing IBD. The risk did not correlate with dose or treatment duration. Prior diagnosis of an autoimmune illness did not increase the risk of IBD in rituximab treated patients. Conclusions: Patients on rituximab have a sixfold increased risk of developing IBD compared to the general population. This risk was not affected by the indication for treatment and was not associated with concurrent immune-mediated diseases. Summary This population-based retrospective cohort study included all patients receiving treatment with rituximab between 2001 and 2018 in Iceland and identified a sixfold increased risk of developing IBD when compared to the general population. Keywords: IBD-basic; IBD-clinical; Immunology; colonic-disorders; endoscopy-general.