Send to

Choose Destination
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2003 Jan;11(1):1-5.

Correlation between radiographic severity of knee osteoarthritis and future disease progression. Results from a 3-year prospective, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effect of glucosamine sulfate.

Author information

WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspect of Osteoarticular Disorders, Liege, Belgium.



To investigate the relationship between baseline radiographic severity of knee osteoarthritis (OA) and the importance of long-term joint space narrowing.


Sub-analysis from a three-year randomized, placebo-controlled, prospective study, of 212 patients with knee OA, recruited in an osteoarthritic outpatient clinic and having been part of a study evaluating the effect of glucosamine sulfate on symptom and structure modification in knee OA.


Measurements of mean joint space width (JSW), assessed by a computer-assisted method, were performed at baseline and after 3 years, on weightbearing anteroposterior knee radiographs.


In the placebo group, baseline JSW was significantly and negatively correlated with the joint space narrowing observed after 3 years (r=-0.34, P=0.003). In the lowest quartile of baseline mean JSW (<4.5mm), the JSW increased after 3 years by (mean (S.D.)) 3.8% (23.8) in the placebo group and 6.2% (17.5) in the glucosamine sulfate group. The difference between the two groups in these patients with the most severe OA at baseline was not statistically significant (P=0.70). In the highest quartile of baseline mean JSW (>6.2mm), a joint space narrowing of 14.9% (17.9) occurred in the placebo group after 3 years while patients from the glucosamine sulfate group only experienced a narrowing of 6.0% (15.1). Patients with the most severe OA at baseline had a RR of 0.42 (0.17-1.01) to experience a 0.5mm joint space narrowing over 3 years, compared to those with the less affected joint. In patients with mild OA, i.e. in the highest quartile of baseline mean JSW, glucosamine sulfate use was associated with a trend (P=0.10) towards a significant reduction in joint space narrowing.


These results suggest that patients with the less severe radiographic knee OA will experience, over 3 years, the most dramatic disease progression in terms of joint space narrowing. Such patients may be particularly responsive to structure-modifying drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center