Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 1.0% of the adult world population. More than one million Americans suffer from RA. About 75% of those affected are women. Literature indicates that early detection of RA is critical to ensure that early treatment is administered to prevent the development of disabling joint erosions.1
In addition to clinical evaluation involving a physical exam and discussion of symptoms, laboratory testing is performed to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, to distinguish it from other forms of arthritis and inflammatory conditions, and to evaluate its severity. Testing can also be used to monitor the condition, its potential complications, response to treatment, and to monitor for potential side effects associated with some treatments.2
Rheumatoid factor (RF) is the most commonly ordered test for RA diagnosis, but RF lacks specificity for early RA detection. RF is present in <50% of early RA patients, and 35–40% of RF-negative patients are anti-CCP positive. Approximately 20% of RA patients remain RF-negative for the course of their disease.3
Anti-CCP is a predictive marker for RA prior to clinical symptoms and aids in differentiation of RA from other arthritic conditions. Prior to clinical onset of disease, 70% of RA patients will test positive for anti-CCP. Testing enables earlier treatment, inhibiting joint erosion.4
Learn more about the clinical significance of autoimmune tests, including RF and anti-CCP.