(HealthDay News) – Mortality rates are higher in postmenopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies, according to research published online Dec. 23 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Lewis H. Kuller, MD, DrPH, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues measured serum levels of anti-CCP antibodies, rheumatoid factor (RF), and antinuclear antibodies (ANA), and followed total mortality over 10 years for 9,988 women (mean age, 64 ± 7 years) who reported having RA in the Women’s Health Initiative.
The researchers found that the prevalence of anti-CCP antibodies was 8.1%. Among the women, 1,029 had probable RA, including 217 women who were negative for anti-CCP antibodies but reported taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Age-adjusted mortality rates expressed per 1,000 person-years were 20.2 for women positive for anti-CCP antibodies, 11.4 for women negative for anti-CCP antibodies with no DMARD use, and 8.3 for women who did not report any arthritis at baseline. The increased risk of mortality among women with RA who were positive for anti-CCP antibodies was not associated with age, positive RF, positive ANA, or DMARD use.
“Anti-CCP-positive RA was associated with substantial excess mortality among postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative that was not explained by measured risk factors,” the authors write.