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Investigating CD11c expression as a potential genomic biomarker of response to TNF inhibitor biologics in whole blood rheumatoid arthritis samples

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John IsaacsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Introduction: Gene expression profiling is rapidly becoming a useful and informative tool in a much needed area of research. Identifying patients as to whether they will respond or not to a given treatment before prescription is not only essential to optimise treatment outcome but also to lessen the economic burden that such drugs can have on healthcare resources. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), there is of yet no genetic/genomic biomarker which can accurately predict response to TNF inhibitor biologics prior to treatment, despite much interest in this area. Multiple studies have reported findings on potential candidate genes; however, due to relatively small sample sizes or lack of sufficient validation, results have been disappointingly inconsistent. The aim of this research was to further explore the predictive value of a previously reported association between CD11c expression and response to the TNF inhibitor biologics, adalimumab and etanercept.Methods: Real-time qPCR was performed using whole blood RNA samples obtained from seventy-five rheumatoid arthritis patients about to commence treatment with a TNF inhibitor biologic drug, whose response status was determined at 3-month follow-up using the EULAR classification criteria. Relative quantification of CD11c using the comparative C-T method outputted differential expression between good-responders and non-responders as a fold-change.Results: Relative expression of CD11c in patients receiving TNF inhibitor biologics yielded a decrease of 1.025 fold in good-responders as compared to non-responders (p-value = 0.36). Upon stratification of patients dependent upon the specific drug administered, adalimumab or etanercept, similar findings to the full cohort were observed, decreases of 1.015 (p-value = 0.33) and 1.032 fold (p-value = 0.13) in good-responders compared to non-responders, respectively.Conclusion: The results from this study reveal that CD11c expression does not correlate with response to TNF inhibitor biologics when tested for within pre-treatment whole blood samples of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith SL, Eyre S, Yarwood A, Hyrich K, Morgan AW, Wilson AG, Isaacs J, Plant D, Barton A, Biol Rheumatoid Arthrit Genetics

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Arthritis Research & Therapy

Year: 2015

Volume: 17

Online publication date: 14/12/2015

Acceptance date: 20/11/2015

Date deposited: 05/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1478-6354

ISSN (electronic): 1478-6362

Publisher: BioMed Central


DOI: 10.1186/s13075-015-0868-y


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Funder referenceFunder name
Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)'s Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit
Newcastle's Biomedical Research Centre
115142-2innovative medicines initiative joint undertaking (IMI JU) funded project BeTheCure
20385Arthritis Research