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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 545493, 24 pages
Review Article

Cytokines as Biomarkers in Rheumatoid Arthritis

1Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine, The University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
2Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology Research, The University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
3NIHR Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, The Leeds Trust Teaching Hospital, Leeds, UK
4Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine, Translational Research in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases Group, Clinical Sciences Building, St. James’s University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

Received 28 August 2013; Accepted 21 January 2014; Published 9 March 2014

Academic Editor: Jean Sibilia

Copyright © 2014 Agata Burska et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


RA is a complex disease that develops as a series of events often referred to as disease continuum. RA would benefit from novel biomarker development for diagnosis where new biomarkers are still needed (even if progresses have been made with the inclusion of ACPA into the ACR/EULAR 2010 diagnostic criteria) and for prognostic notably in at risk of evolution patients with autoantibody-positive arthralgia. Risk biomarkers for rapid evolution or cardiovascular complications are also highly desirable. Monitoring biomarkers would be useful in predicting relapse. Finally, predictive biomarkers for therapy outcome would allow tailoring therapy to the individual. Increasing numbers of cytokines have been involved in RA pathology. Many have the potential as biomarkers in RA especially as their clinical utility is already established in other diseases and could be easily transferable to rheumatology. We will review the current knowledge’s relation to cytokine used as biomarker in RA. However, given the complexity and heterogeneous nature of RA, it is unlikely that a single cytokine may provide sufficient discrimination; therefore multiple biomarker signatures may represent more realistic approach for the future of personalised medicine in RA.