Blood Test Predicts Knee Osteoarthritis 8 Years Earlier - EMJ

Blood Test Predicts Knee Osteoarthritis 8 Years Earlier

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A NEW blood test has successfully predicted risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA) eight years before signs of the disease appeared on X-rays. The new blood test identifies key biomarkers of osteoarthritis and can predict development of the disease as well as progression, long before current methods are able to diagnose it.

Virginia Byers Kraus, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA, and team aimed to identify these biomarkers in a cohort of 200 women (mean age = 54 years). Of the group, half had been diagnosed with OA, and the other half did not have the disease, and participants were matched by body mass index and age. As a result of the selection criteria, there were no statistically significant group differences based on baseline age or BMI. The research team analysed serum samples from the participants, using multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) assay consisting of 165 peptides.

Results showed that a small number of biomarkers in the blood test successfully distinguished the women with knee OA from those without it, catching molecular signals of OA up to eight years before many of the women were diagnosed with the disease based on radiographic abnormalities.

The team highlighted the importance of this study, commenting that “it provides more evidence that there are abnormalities in the joint that can be detected by blood biomarkers well before X-rays can detect OA”. “Early-stage osteoarthritis could provide a ‘window of opportunity’ in which to arrest the disease process and restore joint health,” they added. OA is the most common form of arthritis, and though there is no cure, new tests such as the one developed by Kraus and colleagues could be instrumental in identifying the disease earlier and slowing its progression before it becomes debilitating.



Kraus VB et al. An osteoarthritis pathophysiological continuum revealed by molecular biomarkers. Sci Adv. 2024;10(17):eadj6814.

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