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09-11-2017 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Review | Article

Rheumatoid Arthritis-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease: Current Concepts

Current Rheumatology Reports

Authors: Yoel Brito, Marilyn K. Glassberg, Dana P. Ascherman

Publisher: Springer US


Among the many extra-articular complications of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), interstitial lung disease (ILD) contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Prevalence estimates for RA-ILD vary widely depending on the specific clinical, radiographic, and functional criteria used to establish the diagnosis. A key unresolved issue is whether early, subclinical forms of RA-ILD represent a precursor to end stage, fibrotic lung disease. Based on uncertainties surrounding the natural history of RA-ILD, incomplete understanding of underlying disease pathogenesis, and lack of controlled clinical trials, evidence-based therapeutic strategies remain largely undefined.
Correlative clinico-epidemiological studies have identified key risk factors for disease progression. Complementing these findings, the identification of specific molecular and serological markers of RA-ILD has improved our understanding of disease pathogenesis and established the foundation for predictive biomarker profiling. Experience from case series and cohort studies suggests that newer biological agents such as rituximab may be viable treatment options.
RA-ILD continues to have a major impact on “disease intrinsic” morbidity and mortality. Increased understanding of disease pathogenesis and the natural history of subclinical RA-ILD will promote the development of more refined therapeutic strategies.

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