Increased expression of proto-oncogene survivin predicts Joint destruction and persistent disease activity in early rheumatoid arthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by an uncontrolled spread of destructive joint inflammation resembling malignancy. Epidemiological studies have established strong correlation between inflammation and predisposition for cancer. Here we assess the predictive role of the circulating proto-oncogene survivin for clinical and radiological outcome of early RA. Patients and methods. Serum survivin was measured by sandwich ELISA in 651 patients with early RA (mean duration 6 months). X-rays of hands and feet were prospectively obtained at base-line and after 1, 2, and 5 years and evaluated for the presence of bone destruction by a modified Sharp method. The predictive value of survivin for radiological destruction was calculated using multivariate regression models including antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptides (aCCP) and rheumatoid factor (RF). Remission was assessed by the EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism) criteria and by criteria proposed by Mkinen. Results. At base-line, 391 patients (60%) had high levels of survivin. Radiological progression at 5 years was significantly more frequent (P 0.001) among survivin-positive patients than among survivin-negative. Survivin positivity predicted radiological progression independently of aCCP and RF. The positive predictive value of survivin was proved both in the group of patients with and in the group without erosions at base-line. The combination of positive tests for both survivin and aCCP had the highest prediction for radiological progression (positive predictive value 0.75). Additionally, a positive test for survivin was an independent predictor of not being in remission. Conclusion. Detection of survivin in early RA predicted joint destruction and failure of achieving remission after 5 years in patients with early RA.


  • Björn Svensson
  • Ingiäld Hafström
  • Kristina Forslind
  • Kristina Albertsson
  • Andrej Tarkowski
  • Maria Bokarewa
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Helsingborg Hospital
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


  • Oncogenes, Prognosis, Remission, Rheumatoid arthritis, Survivin
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch