Conference ReCAP

Rheumatoid Arthritis Highlights From ACR 2021


Rheumatologist Stanley B. Cohen from UT Southwestern Medical School offers insight on key findings in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) presented at ACR 2021.

First, Dr Cohen discusses a series of abstracts from the ORAL Surveillance trial. The study demonstrated that the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events and malignancies was higher with tofacitinib than with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, but only in certain patient subgroups. Next, he highlights a series of abstracts looking at the response to COVID vaccination in patients with autoimmune diseases, primarily RA. It was observed that many RA therapies blunt the response to COVID vaccines.

Dr Cohen then discusses a study of the ability of abatacept to delay the development of RA. The study evaluated patients who received abatacept vs placebo for 6 months and were then followed up 1 year after treatment. After 12 months, close to 40% of people on placebo developed RA vs only 8% of those on abatacept.

He then shares insight on a study that examined whether initial response to RA therapy could predict a patient's risk for refractory RA. The study found that patients for whom initial therapy was ineffective or difficult to tolerate were more likely to develop refractory RA.

Dr Cohen closes his commentary by discussing a study on the effectiveness of cycling JAK inhibitors in patients with RA.


Clinical Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical School; Director, Rheumatology Training Program, THR Presbyterian, Rheumatology Associates, Dallas, Texas

Stanley B. Cohen, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships:

Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant, or trustee for: Amgen; AbbVie; Pfizer; BMS; Genentech; Lilly

Received research grant from: Amgen; AbbVie; Pfizer; BMS; Genentech; Lilly