Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Intern Med. 2010 Apr 6;152(7):456-64; W155-66. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-152-7-201004060-00010.

Systematic review: accuracy of anti-citrullinated Peptide antibodies for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.

Author information

Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, United Kingdom.



Early recognition and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is important to prevent irreversible joint damage. Anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPA) have been suggested for early diagnosis.


To compare the accuracy of ACPA and rheumatoid factor in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis in patients with early symptoms of the disease.


10 medical databases from inception to September 2009, with no language or publication restrictions, and references of included studies.


Two independent reviewers screened searches. Full articles were assessed by one reviewer and checked by a second reviewer to identify studies that reported 2 x 2 data on ACPA for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (by 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria).


One reviewer abstracted data on patient characteristics, ACPA details, and 2 x 2 data and assessed study quality by using the QUADAS tool. A second reviewer checked extractions.


151 studies were included, with considerable heterogeneity in sensitivity (range, 12% to 93%) and specificity (range, 63% to 100%). In cohort studies that investigated second-generation anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP2) in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (<2 years), summary sensitivity and specificity were 57% (95% CI, 51% to 63%) and 96% (CI, 93% to 97%), respectively. Case-control and cross-sectional studies and studies of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis all overestimated sensitivity. Anti-CCP2 had greater specificity than rheumatoid factor (96% vs. 86%), with similar sensitivity. Evidence was insufficient to ascertain whether the combination of anti-CCP2 and rheumatoid factor provides additional benefit over anti-CCP2 alone.


Most studies used a diagnostic case-control design, which overestimated sensitivity. Items relating to study quality were rarely reported. Publication bias could not be assessed.


Anti-CCP2 should be included in the work-up of patients with early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center