Evaluation of Minimally Invasive, Ultrasound-guided Synovial Biopsy Techniques by the OMERACT Filter-determining Validation Requirements

Frances Humby, Stephen Kelly, Serena Bugatti, Antonio Manzo, Andrew Filer, Arti Mahto, Joao Eurico Fonseca, Bernard Lauwerys, Maria-Antonietta D'Agostino, Esperanza Naredo, Rik Lories, Carlomaurizio Montecucco, Paul Peter Tak, Oliver Fitzgerald, Malcolm D Smith, Douglas J Veale, Ernest H Choy, Vibeke Strand, Costantino Pitzalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Because limited data currently support the clinical utility of peripherally expressed biomarkers in guiding treatment decisions for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the search has turned to the disease tissue. The strategic aim of the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) synovitis working group over the years has been to develop novel diagnostic and prognostic synovial biomarkers. A critical step in this process is to refine and validate minimally invasive, technically simple, robust techniques to sample synovial tissue, for use both in clinical trials and routine clinical practice. The objective of the synovitis working group (SWG) at OMERACT 12 (2014) was to examine whether recently developed ultrasound (US)-guided synovial biopsy techniques could be validated according to the OMERACT filter for future clinical use recommendation.

METHODS: The SWG examined whether current data reporting US-guided synovial biopsy of both large and small joints addressed the OMERACT filters of truth, discrimination, and feasibility.

RESULTS: There are currently limited data examining the performance of US-guided synovial biopsy, mainly from observational studies. Thus, it remains critical to evaluate its performance, within the clinical trials context, against the current gold standard of arthroscopic biopsy, with particular reference to: (1) synovial tissue yield, (2) capacity to determine treatment response as measured by a validated synovial biomarker, and (3) tolerability of the procedure.

CONCLUSION: We summarize the discrete work packages agreed to as requirements to validate US-guided synovial biopsy and therefore lead to a global consensus on the use of synovial biopsy for research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-213
JournalThe Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015




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