News in brief: Statins no help for knee osteoarthritis; What we don’t know about OA; Search for novel GCA biomarkers draws a blank

Thursday, 15 Apr 2021

Statins no help for knee osteoarthritis

Statins do not slow tibial cartilage volume loss in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, an Australian study finds.

Led by rheumatologist Professor Flavia Cicuttini from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University the trial randomised 248 patients aged 40 to 70 years to atorvastatin 40mg once a day or placebo.

Annual percentage change in tibial cartilage volume assessed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over two years did not differ significantly between the groups (‐1.66% vs. ‐2.17%, difference 0.50%, 95%CI ‐0.17% to 1.17%).

There were also no significant differences in progression of cartilage defects or bone marrow lesions, change in pain, stiffness or function, according to the paper published in Arthritis and Rheumatology.

We don’t know what we don’t know about osteoarthritis

An international team has developed ‘knowledge scales’ designed to measure people’s osteoarthritis knowledge across the world.

The team, including experts from Australia and New Zealand, note that there are currently no valid or reliable tools that measure consumers’ OA knowledge, which not only leaves some blind spots but ultimately limits opportunities to optimise OA treatment.

The Hip Osteoarthritis Knowledge Scale (HOAKS) and the Knee Osteoarthritis Knowledge Scale (KOAKS) are being tested through the Osteoarthritis Knowledge Survey and the researchers are calling on countries to respond.

For more information on the survey click here.

Search for novel GCA biomarkers continues

A trial exploring the clinical utility of a panel of serological biomarkers in patients with suspected GCA has drawn a blank.

None of the 8 novel biomarkers explored in 63 patients correlated closely with the PET/CT detected vasculitis burden or outperformed CRP or ESR, the authors from Royal North Shore in Sydney concluded in their paper published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. The markers included intra‐cellular adhesion molecule 1,  VEGF, pentraxin 3, von Willebrand factor and procalcitonin,  interleukin (IL)6, IL12 and interferon‐γ.

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