How should treatment effect on spinal radiographic progression in patients with ankylosing spondylitis be measured?.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by pain, stiffness, and often, impaired mobility of the spine. The latter is due to spinal inflammation as well as the formation of erosions and vertebral syndesmophytes, and may result in complete ankylosis (“bamboo spine”). AS has a burden of illness comparable with that of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (1–3). Recent research from our group has now convincingly shown that radiographic damage in AS interferes with long-term functioning, independent of actual disease activity (4), and therefore, radiographic damage is an important target for therapeutic intervention.