Background: Rheumatoid factors (RF) are currently used in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several other autoantibodies found in RA are directed to epitopes in citrullinated proteins such as anti-cyclic citrullinated and recently anti-modified citrullinated vimentin (MCV).
Objective: In this study we determined the sensitivity and specificity of anti-MCV in comparison with anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibodies and RF in RA patients and in a control group using the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria as the gold standard.
Materials and methods: A cross sectional study was conducted from January to December 2008 on 100 patients with RA and 153 patients with arthritis or arthralgia but not fulfilling ACR criteria for RA. Serum from each subject was tested for anti-MCV, anti-CCP antibodies and immunoglobulin G (IgG) RF by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Sensitivity and specificity of the tests were evaluated using the ACR criteria as the gold standard.
Results: The sensitivity of RF was 85% with 74.5% specificity. For anti-CCP antibodies the sensitivity was 71% and the specificity was 94.8%. The sensitivity of anti-MCV antibodies was 80% with 59.5% specificity. The area under the curve for RF was 0.759, for anti-CCP antibodies was 0.866 and for anti-MCV antibodies was 0.681, while for at least one positive test it was 0.691.
Conclusion: Anti-CCP antibodies have higher diagnostic specificity and positive predictive value than RF and anti-MCV antibodies. RF has the highest sensitivity when compared to anti-CCP and anti-MCV antibodies. Thus anti-MCV antibody is not a better marker when compared to RF or anti-MCV antibody in the diagnosis of RA patients.